Ex-player foresees Yankees agreeing to Juan Soto’s extension to the tune of $520M

Yankees slugger Juan Soto at Tampa during the 2024 spring training camp.

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While some speculate that the New York Yankees might be hesitant to meet the high financial demands of superstar Juan Soto when he becomes a free agent next year, former player Erik Kratz expresses a different opinion.

Kratz, who spent two seasons as a catcher with the Yankees, recently shared his perspective on the “Foul Territory” show. He believes the Yankees will ultimately be willing to offer Juan Soto a lucrative contract to secure his talent.

However, it’s important to note that Kratz’s opinion is based on his own observations and interpretations, and does not necessarily reflect the official stance of the Yankees organization. The team’s future decisions regarding player acquisitions will depend on various factors, including financial constraints, strategic considerations, and overall roster needs.

Ex-Yankee sees $520 million pinstriped pact for Juan Soto

Kratz chuckled as he posed the question, “Do they acquire everyone? Do they fail to secure everyone?” He pointed out that in the last two years, the Yankees successfully acquired the top players in the market, including Carlos Rodon and Juan Soto. Kratz emphasized that the Yankees are not attempting to reduce expenses; rather, they are focused on winning, and this intention is evident.

Kratz speculated that if Juan Soto achieves the anticipated performance level for the upcoming season – batting around .280 with a .400 on-base percentage, accumulating 100 RBIs, and leading the Yankees to the World Series – then Juan Soto’s value could escalate to $520 million. Kratz suggested that due to a full season of familiarity with Juan Soto, the Yankees would be inclined to engage in discussions with him.

Following Erik Kratz’s recent comments suggesting the Yankees will meet Juan Soto’s demands in free agency, former player Todd Frazier echoed similar sentiments.

Frazier, who played for both the Yankees and Mets during his career, expressed confidence that Aaron Judge, the team’s current highest-paid player, wouldn’t object to potentially relinquishing that status to accommodate Juan Soto. He believes Judge thrives in the New York environment and would prioritize team success.

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto are bonding over Yankees spring training in Tampa on February 20, 2024.

It’s important to remember that these opinions are based on personal perspectives and interpretations, not official statements from the Yankees organization. The team’s future decisions regarding player acquisitions will depend on various factors, including financial considerations, strategic planning, and overall roster needs.

While Juan Soto is not currently a member of the Yankees, discussions about his future are likely to continue throughout the season. Represented by prominent agent Scott Boras and having reportedly rejected a significant contract offer from the Nationals in 2022, Soto is widely anticipated to explore free agency and seek the most favorable financial terms available.

Uncertainty hovers over the Bronx

The possibility of Juan Soto joining the New York Yankees in free agency next year continues to spark discussion and speculation. While the intense scrutiny of playing in New York is undeniable, Soto’s established talent suggests he has the potential to thrive in this environment.

Throughout his six-year career, Juan Soto has amassed an impressive track record, accumulating a 28.6 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) and a batting line of .284/.421/.524 with 160 home runs and 483 RBIs (157 OPS+). These statistics paint a picture of an exceptional young player with a trajectory pointing towards a potential Hall of Fame career.

Acquiring such talent, however, comes at a significant cost. MLB sources cited by NJ Advance Media’s Randy Miller suggest Steinbrenner would likely need to offer a considerably higher sum than the $360 million contract Judge received in December 2022. Miller expressed skepticism about the feasibility of such a deal, given the Yankees’ already record-breaking payroll.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

However, Bob Klapisch of NJAM offered a contrasting perspective, suggesting that Judge might be open to a scenario where Soto earns a higher salary. Klapisch believes Judge prioritizes winning and might view this as a way to strengthen the team’s championship aspirations.

Ultimately, whether the Yankees pursue Juan Soto in free agency and the potential structure of such a deal remain uncertain. The team’s decision will likely hinge on various factors, including financial constraints, strategic considerations, and Judge’s contract situation. However, Yankees GM Cashman has already indicated that Juan Soto would prefer free agency.

Kratz stated that if the signing allows the team to maintain a competitive roster while also improving their performance, it aligns with the standard approach of teams aiming for victory. He emphasized that such teams prioritize enhancing their rosters regardless of the expenses involved. Therefore, if adding Juan Soto to the team could lead to improvement over the next 12 or 14 years, as his contract duration might indicate, the team would be inclined to pursue it.

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