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Cardinals extend Miles Mikolas through 2023, per report

After reaching the All-Star Game in his first season back in the majors, the right-hander earns a long-term deal.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Miles Mikolas was arguably the biggest surprise of the 2018 MLB season, reaching the All-Star Game and becoming the Cardinals’ ace following three seasons spent reshaping his career in Japan. The Cardinals are now being proactive in making sure that Mikolas is around for the long term, and as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported Tuesday, the two sides have agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension that could reach $70 million with incentives. It includes a full no-trade clause, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi:

The Cardinals are set to announce the deal during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at their Jupiter, Florida spring training facility. Unlike the deal Nolan Arenado signed earlier Tuesday with the Rockies, Mikolas’ extension will tack on four additional years to his existing deal, which will pay him $7.75 million in 2018. That means he’ll be under Cardinals control through the 2023 season.

Mikolas was masterful with the Cardinals in 2018, posting a 2.83 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP over 200.2 innings. He was one of just 12 major-league pitchers, including only seven in the National League, to reach the 200-inning mark. He was definitely more of a pitch-to-contact guy than a strikeout artist, as he punched out only 6.5 hitters per nine innings, but his command was impeccable, as he walked a majors-low 1.3 batters per nine. His performance was certainly a nice surprise for the Cardinals, who took a two-year, $15.5 million gamble last offseason on a hard-throwing right-hander who had never been able to put it all together during his previous time in the majors. He was solid in relief but struggled with command over 34 innings with the Padres from 2012-13, posting a 3.44 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 16 walks. Things came off the rails in 2014 with the Rangers, though, as he posted a 6.44 ERA with 38 Ks and 18 walks over 10 starts (57.1 innings), and after that season he departed for Japan.

Mikolas, who is set to start on Opening Day for the Cardinals, will headline a rotation that is likely to also include Michael Wacha, Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, and probably a placeholder for the ailing Carlos MartinezAlex Reyes, John Gant, Austin Gomber, and Dakota Hudson are among the current potential candidates for that rotation spot.