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St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas inks two-year contract

St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas inks two-year contract

The Cardinals took their first dip into the free agent pool Tuesday, signing former Padres and Rangers hurler Miles Mikolas to a two-year deal.

Mikolas, who last pitched in the majors for the Texas Rangers in 2014, has flourished with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japan Central League during the past three seasons. Colby Lewis will almost assuredly be the first comparable example that comes to mind in fantasy terms for such a U.S. -to-Japan-and-back-again success story, as the right-hander posted a 3.93 ERA - more than two-and-a-half runs lower than during his first stint in the States - in 80 starts in his first three seasons for the Texas Rangers, after a successful two-year run in Japan.

Mikolas has a combined 4-6 record over 37 career MLB games (10 starts) to go with a 5.32 ERA. He's 31-13 with a 2.18 ERA in 62 games. "On Instagram, Wong referred to himself as "The Pebble" and Fowler suggested on Twitter that Stanton "#comeflexwithdex".

The route to a game at Roger Dean Stadium was a lot shorter when Miles Mikolas was a kid growing up in nearby Tequesta, Fla., but after a detour through Japan, he has found his way back to that ballpark.

We'll note here that the video could be considered disturbing.

The Cardinals had scouts Jeff Ishii and Rick Meinhold as well as director of player personnel Matt Slater evaluate Mikolas in person, and what they saw was desired durability, a hold on his mid-90s-mph velocity late into games, and strikes.

The Cardinals added to their depth with Mikolas. The Cubs, Brewers and A's were also said to be interested. He made a strong start in his debut against the Marlins, going 8 innings of three-hit ball, while only giving up one walk and picking up five strikeouts. Turns out, Mikolas received his interesting nickname, the "Lizard King", after ... eating a live lizard in order to win a bet.

He's even moved closer to the ballpark and lives there with his wife and their baby daughter.

Mikolas pitched the last three years in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, for the Yomiuri Giants.