Broadcaster Michael Kay aligns with Yankees’ payroll cap despite Soto question

Michael Key and Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
Amanda Paula
Tuesday May 28, 2024

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The New York Yankees are facing a significant challenge in their effort to re-sign star outfielder Juan Soto, who will become a free agent at the end of the season. In a recent interview with NJ.com, renowned broadcaster and Yankees commentator Michael Kay discussed the situation and potential strategies the team might use to secure Soto’s future.

Michael Kay backs the Yankees’ cautious approach to re-sign Juan Soto

Broadcaster Michael Kay during a speech
NY POST

Michael Kay highlighted the crucial decision facing Juan Soto: whether to prioritize financial gain or the opportunity to make history with the Yankees.

“Let’s say Steve Cohen drops in and offers Soto $70 million per year. So what does Hal [Steinbrenner] do? I think he’s going to make a really great offer to Soto. He legitimately wants to keep him,” Kay remarked. He also acknowledged the complexity of the situation, stating, “If Soto is of the mindset that he’s going where the last dollars lead him, then it’s going to get really interesting.”

Michael Kay pointed out that while Hal Steinbrenner’s $300 million payroll limit is substantial, it may not align with the spending trends of recent World Series champions. For example, the Texas Rangers, who won the World Series in 2023, had a payroll of $251 million, and the Houston Astros, winners in 2022, had a payroll of $207.8 million. This fiscal prudence is something Kay believes Steinbrenner must consider as he balances maintaining a competitive roster with financial sustainability.

“You have to take Hal at his word; he’s not bluffing when he says $300 million is an unsustainable payroll,” Kay said. He also highlighted the challenges the Yankees face with upcoming free agents like Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, and Clay Holmes, who might need to be replaced by younger, lower-salaried players. “One thing I’ve always liked about Hal is that he’s honest. He doesn’t spin anything. He says what he means,” Kay added.

Yankees face dilemma with Scott Boras’s lucrative ambitions for Juan Soto

Yankees' Juan Soto and his agent Scott Boras
AL Bat

The ongoing negotiations for Juan Soto’s contract are becoming increasingly complex due to the involvement of his agent, Scott Boras, who is renowned for securing record-breaking deals for his clients. Boras emphasized Soto’s unique value in a statement to USA TODAY, asserting, “When you have generational talents, they’re not really a part of the budget. They are part of how you grow assets. They are a different breed. The only cost concern is the cost of the monument.”

Additionally, prior to the Yankees’ 4-3 defeat to the Angels last Tuesday, agent Scott Boras praised Juan Soto, calling him “a centurion” and one of the top 100 players in MLB history. Boras, speaking to the press as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, claimed that any team signing Soto would see their value increase by “billions more.”

However, Boras’ aggressive negotiating tactics have made him a controversial figure among MLB teams. He represents five players, including Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Blake Snell, and Corbin Burnes, who are set to become free agents. According to Matt Snyder of CBS, Boras’ strategy is to secure the best possible deals for his clients, even if it means they remain free agents longer. This approach has already led to some fallout, as evidenced by Jordan Montgomery parting ways with Boras in April.

Adding to the uncertainty, recent comments from Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner have dampened some of the optimism about Soto’s potential re-signing. During the MLB owners’ meetings, Steinbrenner acknowledged the financial challenges posed by the current payroll, stating, “I’m going to be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially.”

Yankees face dilemma: Retain Juan Soto or slash payroll?

Juan Soto player of the new york yankees
AP

Despite these financial constraints, Juan Soto has made a significant impact since joining the Yankees, posting impressive statistics with 14 home runs, 44 RBIs, and a .310/.408/.571 slash line over 55 games. His performance has contributed to the Yankees’ strong record of 37-18, the second-best in the majors.

Adding to the pressure is the Yankees’ status as the most valuable franchise in baseball. According to Forbes, the New York Yankees are valued at $7.55 billion, underscoring the high expectations the team faces.

As the baseball season progresses, the Yankees face the challenging task of retaining the services of star player Juan Soto while adhering to their financial constraints. According to Jimmy Hascup from NJ.com, this decision will likely necessitate tough choices regarding the roster, including potentially allowing key players like Gleyber Torres to enter free agency in favor of promoting prospects from within their system.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Broadcaster Michael Kay aligns with Yankees’ payroll cap despite Soto question

  1. It really is very simple, the payroll dollars have to be reallocated. Just remember first, Soto is in the books for $31M this year, so even if his AAV jumps up to $50M, it’s only a $19M jump, and even if Rizzo or Torres just don’t come back, that’s almost the entire amount. But the reality is that probably both of them don’t come back, and neither does Verdugo if Soto re-ups. Those 3 are a combined $40M themselves.

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