Executive fuels Yankees’ hopes of extending Juan Soto

Amanda Paula
Tuesday May 21, 2024

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In recent weeks, the New York Yankees’ owner, Hal Steinbrenner, ignited a whirlwind of speculation with his podcast revelation: his fervent desire for Juan Soto to don the Yankees’ pinstripes throughout his career, coupled with an eagerness to initiate talks immediately. While this declaration could be interpreted as a strategic maneuver in negotiations, its public airing seemed to offer little beyond affirming Steinbrenner’s admiration for Soto—a sentiment hardly groundbreaking, given the player’s caliber. With Scott Boras as Soto’s representative, a seasoned agent known for leveraging the market to his clients’ advantage, such pronouncements might seem inconsequential.

Could the Yankees realistically secure Soto’s services now?

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
The Athletic

According to an American League executive interviewed by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the likelihood appears slim. “There’s no chance,” the executive asserted. “I think he ultimately signs back with the Yankees, but Scott takes his guys into free agency.”

Jimmy Hascup’s insights on NJ.com present a compelling viewpoint that prompts important inquiries. While Scott Boras has typically steered his clients towards free agency, recent cases involving players like Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, and Cody Bellinger suggest that initial expectations of substantial contracts and extended commitments may not always align with the eventual outcomes.

“Soto is set to hit free agency for the first time, and he’ll do it in his age-26 season, with prime years ahead. He is not only one of the best hitters in the game, he’s an inner circle Hall of Famer. The prudent move seems to be letting teams compete with each other in the offseason to drive the highest contract. How many teams will be willing to spend $500-plus million on a long-term deal?”, wrote Jimmy Hascup on NJ.com

However, as the executive noted, “A 25-year-old Juan Soto has to hit free agency regardless of the agent.” Indeed, Soto, poised to enter free agency for the first time at the outset of his age-26 season, stands at the precipice of his prime. Widely regarded as one of the game’s premier hitters, his prowess on the diamond already merits discussion in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

Given his exceptional talent and youth, the logical strategy appears to involve leveraging the offseason market competition to secure the most lucrative deal possible. While few teams may be willing to commit upwards of $500 million to a long-term contract, the Steve Cohen-owned Mets loom as a formidable contender in this high-stakes game.

Boras, speaking to the YES Network’s Jack Curry, expressed openness to dialogue with Steinbrenner. Yet, such overtures offer no guarantees in the complex realm of contract negotiations.

On the field, Juan Soto’s performance speaks volumes. With a batting average of .316, an on-base percentage of .415, and a slugging percentage of .551, he has amassed 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. His current 172 OPS+, a staggering 72% above league average, positions him among the elite hitters of the game—a remarkable feat, particularly in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

As the saga unfolds, speculation abounds, but one thing remains certain: the allure of securing a player of Juan Soto’s caliber is sure to spark fervent debate and intrigue across the baseball landscape.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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