Superstar pals to help ‘loose’ Juan Soto thrive in Bronx, claims ex-Yankees Icon

Star slugger Juan Soto of the Yankees during the 2024 spring training camp.
Michael Bennington
Friday April 5, 2024

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With Yankees slugger Juan Soto leading fan expectations, former Bronx legend Dave Winfield feels that he is bound to thrive thanks to the pressure on him eased by his star teammates.

In a recent interview with Scott Thompson of Fox News Digital, Winfield, reflecting on the Yankees’ strong start to the 2024 season, revealed that Juan Soto seems to genuinely enjoy living in New York City. This positive sentiment hints at a possible desire for Juan Soto to re-sign with the Yankees after a successful season, which Winfield confidently predicts is on the horizon.

Winfield emphasized that Juan Soto thrives as part of a strong team, not as a lone star. “He doesn’t have to carry the whole team on his shoulders,” Winfield explained. With superstars like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole alongside him, the slugger complements a lineup already bursting with talent. This collaborative effort, Winfield believes, is key to the Yankees’ success.

While Winfield remained tight-lipped about free agency specifics, he did acknowledge Juan Soto’s potential and the buzz he’ll generate with other teams by season’s end. But more importantly, Winfield hinted at a positive outlook for his future in New York, mentioning the slugger’s reported fondness for the city.

“He’s comfortable because it’s not all on him,” Winfield explained. “You got some big, bad players over there.… He doesn’t have to be the man. He is the man in a lot of respects. He’s going to do his thing and make great contributions. But you got Aaron Judge, you got Giancarlo Stanton over there. Gerrit Cole when he gets healthy again. I’m just talking the big guys. They got a lot of contributors over there. 

“So, he’ll have a good year and I think he’ll be smiling at the end of the year, too, because people will say, ‘Are you available?’ I don’t want to get into free agency talk and all that kind of stuff. But I know he likes New York.”

Juan Soto’s hot streak earns praise from Yankees Great

Yankees slugger Juan Soto jumps at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Fl., during a training season in March 2024.

Following his dominant performance against the Houston Astros, Juan Soto hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

“I saw him in spring training in the Yankees’ locker room. He looks like he’s loose, confident,” Winfield told Fox News Digital. 

Building on his strong showing in the first game, Juan Soto exploded offensively in the second game. He went a scorching 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk, setting the stage for his heroics later in the series. In a crucial Game 3 moment, with the game hanging in the balance, the star slugger stepped up to the plate with the ice water running through his veins. A towering home run off a fastball, blasting the ball over the Crawford Boxes in left field, put the Yankees in the lead for good.

“I saw that play (in the outfield), aggressive defense, charged the ball, caught it on a good hop, fired to home, saved the game. I thought I was watching me,” Winfield said.

The series finale was another showcase of Juan Soto’s clutch hitting. Facing the Astros’ closer, Josh Hader, he delivered a timely hit that drove in Gleyber Torres, sealing the victory for the Yankees. His celebratory chest-pound as the slugger rounded first base underscored his confidence and the momentum he brings to the team.

Juan Soto’s stellar week wasn’t lost on baseball legends. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield applauded the well-deserved selection of him as the American League’s Player of the Week. Winfield highlighted the Dominican’s versatility as a hitter, praising his patience at the plate, his ability to draw walks, and his mastery of using the entire field when batting.

However, the spotlight is about to get brighter for Juan Soto as he prepares for his highly anticipated debut at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays. Winfield, a seasoned veteran who thrived under pressure in the Bronx himself, offered some valuable advice. He believes Juan Soto shouldn’t feel the pressure to single-handedly win games in front of the passionate Yankee fanbase. With a supportive team behind him, Juan Soto should focus on what he does best – playing his natural game and letting his immense talent shine through.

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees celebrating the 5-3 victory vs. Houston Astros, on Saturday night, march 30, 2024.

On the field, Juan Soto has lived up to the hype in pinstripes. His impressive .345/.441/.483 slash line in just 34 plate appearances places him at 23rd among qualifying batters in on-base percentage. Beyond these offensive contributions, he has also showcased his defensive prowess with a game-saving play on Opening Day that prevented a crucial tying run.

The big question remains: can the Yankees afford to keep Juan Soto? Negotiations are likely to be complex, with reports suggesting that the slugger and his agent, Scott Boras, have their sights set on record-breaking figures in free agency. Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic even speculates that initial talks could begin at a staggering $500 million.

While the financial demands may be significant, Winfield’s optimistic outlook suggests that Juan Soto might be open to a “hometown discount” to continue building his legacy in the Bronx. Only time will tell if the Yankees will ultimately be willing to meet his asking price, but Winfield’s insights offer a glimmer of hope for Yankee fans who yearn to see Juan Soto donning the pinstripes for years to come.

Winfield endorses Juan Soto’s impact on Yankees

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees

Baseball legend Dave Winfield, a former right fielder for the New York Yankees himself, recognizes the immense value Juan Soto brings to his old stomping grounds.

Yankees fans entered the 2024 season with a mix of hope and trepidation after the team’s disappointing 82-80 finish in 2023. Juan Soto’s arrival, however, injected a surge of excitement. His dominant performance in spring training, consistently displaying his power hitting, further amped up expectations. 

Winfield, spending time with the Yankees during spring training in Tampa Bay, witnessed firsthand how seamlessly Juan Soto integrated into the team. He observed a calm confidence in the slugger’s demeanor, suggesting he’d quickly become part of the fabric of the team.

While discussing the new “Cracker Jack at the Ballpark” exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Winfield shared his observations of Juan Soto with Fox News Digital. He emphasized Soto’s composure and self-assuredness, indicating the young star was fully prepared for the season’s challenges.

And so far, Juan Soto has delivered. In the Yankees’ impressive early run – boasting a 6-1 record at this point – he’s already embodied the team’s “earn the pinstripes” ethos. A prime example was his crucial defensive play in right field during the season opener against the Houston Astros. With a runner potentially tying the game, Juan Soto chased down a hit to the outfield, secured the ball with a diving catch, and fired a laser throw to home plate for a game-saving out.  

Winfield, reflecting on the play with a touch of humor, couldn’t help but draw parallels between Juan Soto’s defensive brilliance and his own playing days. He playfully noted the reminiscent qualities of the play, finding amusement in seeing that same aggressive defensive spirit alive and well in Soto.

As rumors swirl about New York Yankees slugger Juan Soto potentially seeking a record-breaking contract extension similar to Shohei Ohtani’s average annual salary, Winfield has offered some encouraging insights on Soto’s future with the team.

“So, he’ll have a good year and I think he’ll be smiling at the end of the year, too, because people will say, ‘Are you available?’ I don’t want to get into free agency talk and all that kind of stuff. But I know he likes New York.”

Winfield remained tight-lipped on specific details regarding free agency negotiations, but he expressed unwavering faith in Juan Soto’s talent. He also anticipated a bidding war from other teams eager to acquire the superstar’s services by season’s end. However, Winfield’s knowledge of the slugger’s fondness for New York adds a layer of optimism for his long-term future with the Yankees.

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