Insider pitches idea of Yankees dumping Rizzo to finance Juan Soto contract

Yankees' Juan Soto celebrates with Anthony Rizzo following his homer against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 3, 2024.
Michael Bennington
Friday May 17, 2024

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The New York Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner is contemplating a long-term deal for Juan Soto. On his part, the slugger is also open for in-season talks and ready to forgo free agency for a new deal. Since the new contract for the Dominican star is expected to cross the half-billion mark, The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty has suggested dumping fan favorite Anthony Rizzo to cough up money to fund the deal.

“For 2025, Rizzo has a $17 million team option with a $6 million buyout,” he said. ” My expectation has been that the Yankees might shift LeMahieu to first base full-time next season and look in the offseason to upgrade at third base. But the options there don’t seem like they’ll be all that exciting. (Don’t count on Yankees fans accepting free-agent-to-be Alex Bregman, considering his Houston history.) And if Rizzo continues to hit (.306 average, six homers, .964 OPS in his last 19 games going into Wednesday), it’s totally possible the Yankees would look to pick up his option. He’ll play next season at age 35 — a year younger than LeMahieu. But everything this offseason needs to be seen through the lens of Soto. If the Yankees think saving money at first base and shifting it to Soto is a bigger priority, then all bets are off.”

Soto’s impending free agency is expected to command a record-breaking contract and MLB pundits expect it to spread over multiple years and exceed $500 million. His $31 million contract this offseason already set the record for an arbitration-eligible player, underlining his immense value. Following Shohei Ohtani $700 million deal with the Dodgers, Soto is likely to press a big-money payout. The Yankees will need to make a substantial financial commitment to keep Soto in pinstripes, which may involve making tough decisions regarding other players.

Kuty noted that while Rizzo has recently found his swing, the Yankees’ offseason decisions must be viewed through the lens of retaining Soto. If the team determines that prioritizing savings at first base and reallocating those funds to Soto is more crucial, then all other considerations may become secondary.

 acquisition of Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player trade was one of the most significant moves of the offseason. Soto, now part of a formidable lineup featuring Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton, is set to become a free agent after this season. , such as Rizzo, according to The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty.

Yankees at a disadvantage if Soto enters free agency

Yankees star slugger Juan Soto is chatting with teammates during the spring training camp in March 2024.

The New York Yankees are in an enviable position, having already secured the services of Juan Soto, a three-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger. However, according to’s Randy Miller, the Yankees have not yet made any formal attempt to explore the possibility of a contract extension for the young superstar.

Given Soto’s age and impressive list of accolades, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez suggests that his next contract could potentially reach the $500 million mark. To successfully sign Soto, the Yankees will likely need to offer more than the 15-year, $440 million extension he previously turned down from the Washington Nationals, as reported by’s Jessica Camerato.

Unless an extension is agreed upon, Soto will become a free agent at the end of the season. Gonzalez notes that Soto’s preference is to sign a long-term deal and “just finish in that one spot.” While the Yankees have not initiated extension talks, Soto, who Scott Boras represents, is reportedly “willing to listen,” according to Miller.

In March, Soto stated that if the Yankees wished to discuss an extension, they could speak with his agent, Scott Boras. He emphasized that his primary focus was on playing baseball and that, as a current member of the Yankees, he wouldn’t concern himself with contract negotiations at this time.

Can Lemahieu replace Rizzo at first base?

Anthony Rizzo, player of the new york yankees

Since his acquisition from the Chicago Cubs in 2021, Anthony Rizzo has posted a .238/.333/.431 slash line with 59 home runs for the New York Yankees. Last season, Rizzo struggled with injuries, hitting just .244. In 2023, he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, believed to be a result of a collision with the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. on May 28.

Rizzo’s 2023 season started slowly, as he slashed .227/.306/.284 with one home run in his first 23 games. However, he has turned things around in his last 20 games, posting a .290/.349/.566 line with five home runs.

Looking ahead to 2025, Rizzo has a $17 million team option with a $6 million buyout. Brendan Kuty of The Athletic suggests that the Yankees might consider moving LeMahieu to first base full-time next season and explore offseason opportunities to upgrade at third base.

LeMahieu, who is still recovering from a spring training injury, has yet to make his 2024 debut. He has 201 appearances at first base over nine seasons, including 144 starts. While LeMahieu has won four Gold Glove Awards, three of them were as a second baseman, and his most recent win in 2022 was as a utility player.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Insider pitches idea of Yankees dumping Rizzo to finance Juan Soto contract

  1. Too many wrong questions and assumptions. Not enough broad thinking.
    T.J. Rumfield, off to a solid start in his first 25 games or so in AAA offensively. Won the MiLB GG at 1B in 2023. That’s for the position of all 120 minor league teams, regardless of level.
    Gleyber Torres probably leaves via free agency, if he is still a Yankee at the end of the season.
    Can LeMahieu stay healthy? What position does he play next year, or is he the guy that plays a bit at all 3 infield spots.
    Both Verdugo and Soto won’t be back next year, only 1.
    Between Verdugo & Torres alone, that will save enough money to add to Soto’s $31M salary tag of this year. It’s not like he is coming her and his entire salary is being added to the payroll.

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