The Cardinals’ signing of right-hander Miles Mikolas to a two-year, $15.5MM contract might not have been the splash that many St. Louis fans were hoping to see this week, but it nonetheless is a significant pickup for the club. GM Mike Girsch tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, that Mikolas will compete for a rotation spot after impressing Cardinals scouts for several years with his transformation in Japan. “Our scouts have watched him as he refined his repertoire, improved his velocity and became one of the most effective pitchers in Japan the last couple seasons,” says Girsch. “While Miles has always had good control back to his days with San Diego and Texas, he has been able to sharpen his pitches and improve his strikeout rate over the past three seasons.” The righty pitched to a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9 in 424 2/3 innings for the Yomiuri Giants before making the leap back to MLB. Langosch also quotes Mikolas himself on a number of the adjustments he made and his decision to sign with the Cardinals, whose Spring Training facility is in Mikolas’ hometown of Jupiter, Fla.
Some more Cardinals chatter as the Winter Meetings loom…
- Adding Mikolas is also in many ways preparation for a potential trade, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold reports that the Cards have made a “compelling” offer for Giancarlo Stanton and have discussed right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jack Flaherty in various trade scenarios with the Marlins. (Notably, Goold does not specify whether either Alcantara or Flaherty is in the Cardinals’ final offer.) The Cardinals, he adds, are also willing to take on more of the contract than other teams.
- Even if Stanton doesn’t approve a trade to the Cardinals, however, Goold points out that their negotiations with the Marlins won’t go to waste. Much of the talk that has gone on between the two clubs could serve as a framework for a deal involving Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich, if the Marlins are amenable to parting with them. The Cards have also talked to the Rays about closer Alex Colome, as Goold and others have previously reported, and Goold notes that those talks “could shift or expand” to include Evan Longoria. The longtime Rays cornerstone has come up as a speculative trade candidate on several occasions this winter. As Goold notes, Longoria gains 10-and-5 rights early in the 2018 season, so if the Rays do want to move the remaining five years and $86MM on his contract, this offseason is the time to do it before he gains the full no-trade power that comes with those 10-and-5 rights.
- President of baseball operations John Mozeliak joined Chris Hrabe and Mike Claiborne of KMOX Sports Radio in St. Louis to discuss a host of topics, and the transcription of much of the conversation has been posted online by KMOX. Mozeliak didn’t delve into specifics on the Stanton rumors but did discuss the Mikolas signing, his surplus of young outfield options, some of the team’s new coaching hires (Mike Maddux, Willie McGee) and more. Notably, Mozeliak plainly stated that while some reports have pegged Mikolas as a potential fifth starter, the Cardinals “definitely see him with higher expectations than that.” Regarding the many upper-level outfield prospects the Cardinals have in their system, Mozeliak implies that the team will put that supply of talent to use in the near future. “When you envision the next couple of weeks, it’s how do we take that depth and put it towards finding a way to help the club…” Mozeliak states.