Cardinals Extend Miles Mikolas; Sign Matt Wieters

Josh Calloni, Reporter

The Cardinals had a busy day yesterday, announcing the extension of Miles Mikolas, and signing veteran backstop Matt Wieters to a minor league contract.

Wieters, a four time all star and two time gold glove winner, has spent the last two years with the Washington Nationals. These two years have been a step down from his previous eight with the Orioles, but he was still effective. Wieters has been known to carry some pop in his bat, but never really hit for a high average. Over 10 years total, Wieters has hit 151 home runs, and batted .251. His last all star appearance is not one he is too far removed from, last coming in 2016 with Baltimore.

“I like the Matt Wieters signing. He can bring a lot to the team, and he isn’t really a pushover when he is batting,” junior Blake Haffer said.

So, what does this move mean for St. Louis? Mike Shildt has already said that Wieters joins the open competition between Francisco Pena and Joe Hudson for the backup catcher role, however Wieters might have the upper hand with his experience. The logic behind this signing might spark from a injury riddled month of May for Cardinal catchers. After Yadier Molina went down for six weeks with a groin injury, and then Cardinal Carson Kelly joined him with a concussion, the Cardinals had to call upon unproven catcher Steven Baron to hold it down as the backup. With bringing it Wieters, that forces Pena and Hudson to AAA for the depth in the case one or both of Wieters or Molina hit the DL anytime during the season, which could be likely. Wieters is coming off of a year where he only played in 76 games, and Molina is turning 37 this season, and his age might not help him stay on the field. This move will also prevent the Cardinals from rushing top catching prospect Andrew Knizner to the majors, something some fans and experts have criticized the team for doing with Carson Kelly.

“After only one year of Mikolas I can tell he’s worth the price. I’m glad we could retain him for the next five seasons,” junior Douglas Dawkins said.

The other move of the day was more significant, with the team re upping their contract with righty Miles Mikolas. Mikolas was a breakout star in his return to the states after a few years stay in Japan, going 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA and being named to his first all star team last season. Originally, the Cardinals had signed him to a two year contract, which would of made him a free agent after this season, but after the extension, Mikolas will be a Cardinals until the end of 2023, his age 34 season. The official deal was announced as a four year, 68 million dollar contract, which comes out to 17 million dollars a season. The new deal will go into effect after his current contract expires after this season.

Wieters will seemingly be the final signing of the winter for St. Louis, unless something falls into the teams laps, which is something that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has reiterated multiple times since late January. However, it is to be seen if any more extensions are in the works, especially with new comer Paul Goldschmidt.