Cardinals Landing Miles Mikolas Could Have Serious Impact on NL Central

After the Rangers plucked Mike Minor from the free-agent pool, the Cardinals have removed another potential Cubs target from the market. Miles Mikolas had been viewed as a bargain option for the rotation after spending three very successful years in Japan, and that’s exactly what St. Louis got with a two-year, $15.5 million deal.

Though Mikolas may not have been at the top of the list for the Cubs, he was both a) cheap and b) one of those bounceback types they seem to like. The 29-year-old righty would have made a nice fifth starter and wouldn’t have tied up significant payroll or time.

As it is, this signing still figures to have an impact on the Cubs, and not only because Mikolas is going to be facing them for the next two seasons. On the surface, it actually seems a little odd that the Cards would add another starter to a mix that already includes five pretty solid arms (Carlos Martinez, Luke Weaver, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Jack Flaherty), with an excellent crop of prospects just about to break through.

So could this signal a trade? We’re well aware of the Cardinals’ attempts to land Giancarlo Stanton, but there have been talks that they might try to bring Evan Longoria to St. Louis if the bigger deal falls through. And Josh Donaldson had been discussed quite a bit prior to the Stanton business.

Or maybe all they’re doing is stockpiling arms against the inevitable injury attrition that has hampered them over the past few season. While that’s possible, it seems more likely that St. Louis just added depth for what is likely to be a bigger move in the offing.

Stay tuned.

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