Reports: Cardinals Sign Miles Mikolas From Japan's Yomiuri Giants

Miles Mikolas

Miles Mikolas

Louis Cardinals signed right-hander Miles Mikolas to a two-year contract, the team announced on Tuesday.

With Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha locks to make the Cardinals' Opening Day rotation, Adam Wainwright almost assuredly also in unless he's persuaded to shift back to the bullpen, and Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty also strong candidates for spots, Mikolas might have to battle for a guaranteed role as things currently stand. Still, it's conceivable that either Wainwright or Reyes, or both, could shift to relief to clear a space. A native of the Jupiter, Fla., area who came to Cardinals spring training games as a boy, Mikolas, 29, returns to the majors for the first time since 2014 and after three resounding seasons in Japan's top league. However, Mikolas was able to strike out batters at a high clip finishing his last season in the majors with a 6 K/9 while also keeping his walks at bay with a 2.8 BB/9.

While specifics on Mikolas' pitch usage in Japan aren't available, scouts hint that his fastball remains in the same 92-93 mph range it was in during his one year as a big-league starter with the 2014 Rangers, but he also has a quality curveball, slider and cutter.

According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, the Cardinals will pay Mikolas $15.5 million over two years. Mikolas was then drafted by the San Diego Padres during the 2009 Junior Amateur Draft, where he was selected in the 7th round.

Stay tuned to 101ESPN and 101Sports.com for plenty of Cardinals coverage and analysis throughout the offseason.

Starting pitcher Miles Mikolas #36 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. "On Instagram, Wong referred to himself as "The Pebble" and Fowler suggested on Twitter that Stanton "#comeflexwithdex".

After all, it's often the unknowns who provide us the most bang for the buck.

The Cardinals added to their depth with Mikolas.

"We feel he is a player who benefited from the opportunity to pitch and be challenged at a high level in Japan", Slater said. He gave up just 10 home runs and handed out only 23 walks, the latter of which helped him achieve a sparkling WHIP of 0.984. That drove up the price of signing him.

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