St. Louis Cardinals signed a virtually 'unknown', free agent RHP Miles Mikolas, prior to Spring Training in 2018. Cardinals and Mikolas agreed on a $15.5 M/2 Yr. contract and it took quite some time for Mikolas to 'woe' the Cardinals fan base as a valid pitcher. No, not in relief, but as a starter. And, it took some fans until mid-season before they were convinced he was "the real deal".
He had spent his time with the Japan Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, 2015-2017, which did not instill confidence in this 29 year old when he was signed. Some equated that time spent to our MLB Triple-A level here in the States. However, Mikolas showed he was above and beyond.
In 2018, Mikolas was an All Star and #6 contender for the Cy Young Award. He made appearances in 32 games. He pitched 200.2 innings, only allowing 186 hits, a 1.071 WHIP holding a 29-146/BB-SO ratio. He closed his first season back, 18-4/2.83 ERA.
By the end of the Cardinals season, only the constant doubters were left arguing his validity.
Currently, at the Cardinals Warm-Up, he was asked about an extension with the Cardinals. His response, "I'm a pretty easygoing guy," Mikolas said. "If you want to talk, we can talk."
I would say 'further' talks are definitely a possibility. Per Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"The Cardinals and Mikolas' agent have had some talks this winter about what the framework would look like for an extension."
Reportedly, Mikolas sees a long term fit with the Cardinals. Being 30 years old (31 in August) the possibility is real, in my opinion. Contract? I feel five years in the neighborhood of $15-20 M per season would be a valid and solid offer. Incentives thrown in to sweeten the deal. He will be a free agent in 2020.
You ask ~ Will he have a repeat season? I believe he will simply because of his mind-set and belief in himself. Very rarely, if at all, did you see Mikolas in a major bind creating visible stress on the mound. I fully believe in him myself due to the mental training he received in Japan. Sound ludicrous? Not really.
When he left the States and headed overseas after his 2014 season with the Texas Rangers, he was 2-5 and held a high 6.44 ERA. While with the Yomiuri Giants, I feel he learned to release his frustration, doubts per say, and funneled that into a positive force.
In his three seasons abroad, he made 62 games appearances, was 31-13/2.18 ERA. He had five complete games in his total 424.2 IP, only allowing 353 hits, and holding a 69-378/BB-SO ratio.
Yes, it took a moment for him to rid himself of the butterflies, which I'm sure he had a few coming back to prove himself as a pitcher in the MLB - a contender. His first start in Cardinals 2018 Spring Training, most all were shaking their heads as he began with a 32.40 ERA. Throwing that out, he settled in and strong performances began to unfold. He continued to lower his average and by the end of ST held a 2.57 ERA in his 22.2 total innings pitched. "Think" about that.
In my opinion, Mikolas relies upon his 'mind-set' for his concentration and control to achieve his effectiveness from the hill. I don't think that is a fluke, nor will it go away. Training physically is important, yes. However, a positive mindset and belief is just as important - maybe even more so.
I do hope he and the Cardinals can come to agreeable terms for his future. In my opinion, the union will be one worthy of an extension.
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