Juan Soto opens ‘door’ for Yankees extension talks after Steinbrenner’s comments

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
Amanda Paula
Thursday May 16, 2024

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The narrative surrounding Juan Soto’s future with the New York Yankees continues to unfold. Team owner Hal Steinbrenner has shown a willingness to retain the Dominican star at Yankee Stadium for the long term, and Soto recently shared his thoughts on the matter.

Yankees' Juan Soto, during the game against Minnesota Twins, on Thursdays, May 16, 2024.

Juan Soto has adjusted well to life with the Yankees, embracing the passionate fan base, New York’s vibrant culture, and the opportunity to hit in a powerful lineup just ahead of Aaron Judge. With free agency looming this fall, Soto will soon need to decide whether to sign a new contract. However, he might not even reach the open market. On Thursday, Soto expressed openness to contract talks during the season if the Yankees want to discuss a long-term deal with his agent, Scott Boras.

Juan Soto is batting .302 with nine home runs, 34 RBIs, and a .920 OPS in 45 games. He avoided salary arbitration by signing a $31 million, one-year contract after being traded from San Diego along with outfielder Trent Grisham to New York in December for catcher Kyle Higashioka and four pitchers.

Responding to Steinbrenner’s comments after the Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins, Juan Soto said his “door has always been open” to negotiating a new deal before the fall, emphasizing his focus on playing well and fitting in with the team. “They know the phone number and everything. They know where to call. For me right here, I’m focusing on playing baseball. My thing is to try to help the team win,” Soto said.

What did Hal Steinbrenner say about Juan Soto?

The Yankees' owner Hal Steinbrenner and Juan Soto

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is open to discussing an in-season contract extension with Juan Soto, stating, “This is a unique situation and a very unique player.” Soto has started strong in his debut season with the Yankees, showcasing a .310 batting average, 9 home runs, and 34 RBIs, helping the team to a 30-15 record in the AL East.

While it’s uncommon for Scott Boras clients to engage in contract talks mid-season due to potential distractions and the strategy of creating an offseason bidding war, Steinbrenner sees potential in making an exception for Soto. He shared on the “Yankees News and Views” podcast, “I think we’d like to see him here for the rest of his career. I don’t think there’s any doubt of that… I think it could be a distraction, but… this is a unique situation and a very unique player.”

Steinbrenner also mentioned he “wouldn’t be shocked” if in-season conversations with Boras happened, noting, “I think it’s worth doing at some point… the most important thing is, is this a place he can see himself for a long time?”

Soto previously turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals in 2022, betting he would secure a better deal as a free agent after the 2024 season. The Nationals traded him to the San Diego Padres that summer.

The Yankees dominated the Twins, outscoring them 14-1 and outhitting them 35-14 in the series. Aaron Judge’s on-base-plus-slugging percentage jumped from .860 to .948 over the last two games, where he went 6-for-7 with a home run, five doubles, and two walks. Soto struggled in the series, going 2-for-11 with three runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Juan Soto opens ‘door’ for Yankees extension talks after Steinbrenner’s comments

  1. I think the Yankees need to consider ALL scenarios. A 14-15 year deal at his probable asking price? 5-6 years of what they’d be paying for, then what? He’s barely above average at best after that. What happens when they need pitching in 2 years, or a second baseman, or when it’s time to replace DJ. And Judge, he’s 32. his contact is viable for 2-3 years max before he could possibly fade into Stanton land, being just a high paid DH who has only brief flashes of who he was.. if he stays healthy.. No guarantee on prospects working out to the degree they’ll be expected to.. or are we forgetting these guys are only human.. on the flip side, even with Cashman stepping down after next season, they’re in a ” win now” scenario, plus a new GM will want to come in work the deck already stacked in their favor, Steinbrenner Jr. wants a championship and is tired of his.. family is on a foodstamp budget.. ethics failing.. He knows Boras is gonna price gouge him, Soto wants to buy a few small countries to retire in, so why fight it. Plus, Hal knows whether it’s him or another team, Soto’s new contract will set a new precedent for what guys can demand for money. George did it in ’75. Hal knows he could be the one to do what his father did and make history.

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