Legend Mariano Rivera goes to bat for Yankees in Juan Soto sweepstakes

Mariano Rivera goes out to bat for Juan Soto, who's having a stellar season in his walk year.
Esteban Quiñones
Monday June 10, 2024

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In a bold and heartfelt move, Mariano Rivera, the legendary closer of the New York Yankees, has made a powerful case for Juan Soto to extend his stay in pinstripes. As Soto continues to shine in his debut season with the Yankees, Rivera’s pitch highlights the unique allure and unparalleled history of the team he spent his entire MLB playing career with, emphasizing why Soto should consider a long-term commitment.

Mariano Rivera’s persuasive pitch to Juan Soto

Mariano Rivera, a symbol of Yankee greatness, recently shared his thoughts on why Juan Soto should remain with the Yankees. “If I had to tell Juan Soto to be a Yankee for life, it wouldn’t take me much to say,” Rivera stated emphatically. “It is what it is. To me, the Yankees are the Yankees. It’s a special place. It’s second to none. He knows. I think playing here, experiencing this, he knows about it. … If he approached me or if the question was asked, I would definitely say that.”

Rivera’s words carry weight, given his 19-year career with the Yankees, where he amassed five World Series titles and an MLB-record 652 saves. He passionately believes that playing for the Yankees offers an unparalleled experience. “Listen,” Rivera continued, “playing for the New York Yankees and being part of the New York Yankees — it’s something unique. It’s something special that you have to experience, that you have to be around. Then the rest is history.”

Juan Soto’s 2024 season has been nothing short of spectacular. Acquired in an offseason trade with the San Diego Padres, Soto has quickly become a key player for the Yankees. His stats speak volumes: a .318 batting average, 17 home runs, 53 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.027 over 239 at-bats. These numbers not only highlight his talent but also his crucial role in the Yankees’ lineup.

Soto’s importance to the team was starkly evident when he missed two games due to a slight injury. The Yankees lost two straight games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, scoring a mere three runs and showcasing a lackluster offense reminiscent of their struggles in 2023.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 4: Juan Soto #22 of the New York Yankees looks on during the game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on June 4, 2024, in New York, New York. Soto provided an update on his injury

Juan Soto’s future with the Yankees: Will he remain in the Bronx after 2023?

The Yankees traded for Juan Soto with the goal of winning in 2024 for starters, and his performances since have sparked discussions about securing him for the long term. Soto has expressed openness to contract extension negotiations during the season, a sentiment echoed by Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner. “We’d like to see him here for the rest of his career. I don’t think there’s any doubt in that,” Steinbrenner told the YES Network. However, he acknowledged the challenge, as Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, typically avoids mid-season deals.

The financial implications of keeping Soto are significant. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal suggested that the starting point for Soto’s contract could be $500 million, a daunting figure even for the Yankees. Soto’s young age and impressive career trajectory make a lengthy and lucrative contract plausible. He previously turned down a $440 million extension from the Washington Nationals, setting a high bar for future negotiations.

Rosenthal highlighted that Soto’s potential contract could be influenced by Shohei Ohtani’s recent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, valued at $700 million but heavily deferred. The present-day value of Ohtani’s contract is under $500 million, making Soto’s $500 million floor seem reasonable.

The Yankees’ willingness to meet such demands will be tested, especially considering competition from teams like the New York Mets, who might drive the price higher. Notably, Mets’ owner Steve Cohen is the richest owner in MLB. Steinbrenner’s readiness to invest heavily in Soto while maintaining a balanced roster remains a crucial factor.

As the Yankees navigate these complex negotiations, Mariano Rivera’s passionate pitch underscores the unique legacy and opportunity that being a Yankee offers. Juan Soto has already proven his worth on the field and seems to be enjoying his team in New York.

A young fan holds a poster saying he is at Yankees game only to see Juan Soto, Yankee Stadium, June 8, 2024.
Samantha Rae/Insta

Securing him long-term could solidify the Yankees’ future. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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