St. Louis Cardinals Miles Mikolas gets four year extension

Mikolas, 30, is enjoying a breakout season with the Cards: 13-3 with a 2.94 ERA. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images.
Mikolas, 30, is enjoying a breakout season with the Cards: 13-3 with a 2.94 ERA. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. /

The St. Louis Cardinals made one of their biggest moves of the off-season on Tuesdayby extending Miles Mikolas to a four year $68 million extension.

The 30-year-old Miles Mikolas hasn’t even thrown 300 innings at the major league level and will be earning nearly $20 million per season.

After three short-lived seasons with the Padres and Rangers, and three in Japan, his 2018 rookie season was one to remember. He went 18-4 with a sub 3.00 ERA and proved to the St. Louis Cardinals that he belongs at the top of their rotation.

He will earn $8 million in 2019 and the extension will kick in with the 2020 season worth $68 million over four seasons. According to Jon Heyman, the extension could reach $70 million.

That’s an AAV of $17 million during his age 31 to 34 seasons. This is very similar to the deal that kept Nathan Eovaldi in Boston at $17 million during his age 29 to 32 seasons.

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According to Fangraphs, Mikolas posted a 4.3 WAR during the 2018 season. That was the sixth-highest WAR for pitchers in the National League. Fangraphs also estimates that his 4.3 WAR was worth approximately $34 million, twice as much as his AAV.

At this valuation, Mikolas would need to average a per season WAR of just 2.1 for the Cardinals to break even with the contract and all signs say this is very likely. If he can continue the momentum that he’s had since the all-star break, anything is possible for him.

Since the 2018 All Star Game, Mikolas posted an 8-1 record with a 2.88 ERA over 13 starts. That ERA is somewhat close to what Baseball Reference has for his 2019 projections. The site suggests he will go 13-5 with a 3.26 ERA while only throwing 160 innings. Fangraphs projections see him winning between 12 and 16 games.

One aspect of his game that suggests he can have an even better season is his strikeout rate. He’s never been great at striking hitters out, but he’s been getting better at it. During the first half of the 2018 season, his K/9 was 6.3. After the all-star game, it was an even 7. During the month of September, it was 7.8.

A 7.8 K/9 over an entire month is huge considering he had a K/9 below 6.5 for five straight months. At this rate, Mikolas could throw in excess of 160 strikeouts in 2019, and possibly as many as 175.

If Mikolas continues to pitch the way he has, the Cardinals will have something good to look forward to this upcoming season. The rotation will feature Carlos MartinezMichael Wacha and Jack Flaherty behind him plus they have newly added Paul Goldschmidt in the mix.

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In the end, it looks like the St. Louis Cardinals are due to have a better season and Mikolas should be in line for another all-star game appearance and maybe even a better placing in Cy Young voting in 2019.