Yankees likely to beat Ohtani’s $700M to sign Juan Soto but insider bets on free agency

Yankees' slugger Juan Soto at Yankee Stadium on April 8, 2024.

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Whether Juan Soto signs with the New York Yankees or heads for free agency, a record deal surpassing Ohtani’s $700 million contract can’t be ruled out. His reputation as a slugger, past record, his age, and the hype around him this season, all indicate that any future offer for him is set to involve an astronomical sum.

How much will be Juan Soto’s price tag?

During a discussion on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight Show, panelists debated what it would take for the Yankees to extend Soto’s contract. Various figures were proposed, with the first suggestion being a 12-year, $540 million deal, and the second pushing it to a staggering 12-year, $625 million. However, Harold Reynolds dismissed these numbers for a fundamental reason, arguing that they failed to account for the true value of a player of Soto’s caliber and the potential long-term impact on a franchise.

While every team in the league covets his talent, the Yankees have captured everyone’s attention. The question on everyone’s mind is whether they can accomplish the seemingly impossible task of convincing Scott Boras, Juan Soto’s super agent, to agree to a midseason extension.

Boras is renowned for rarely endorsing extensions, as his negotiating prowess relies on creating a bidding war among multiple teams for his clients. With Juan Soto, a 25-year-old elite talent, the stakes are even higher. Securing the slugger now would guarantee at least a decade of consistent performance, making him an invaluable asset to any team.

Harold Reynolds expressed his firm conviction that there was absolutely no possibility of an extension being reached, emphatically stating that it simply would not happen.

Subsequently, the renowned analyst pointed out that if Soto could command $600 million in May, one could only imagine the astronomical figure he might secure in December or February. The entire panel concurred that Shohei Ohtani‘s monumental $700 million contract, merely a year after its inception, could potentially be surpassed by Soto’s impending deal.

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
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Are the Yankees ready to afford Juan Soto’s price tag?

Spotrac reveals that the Yankees‘ current tax payroll stands at a staggering $313 million, positioning them as the third-highest spenders in the league. Consequently, the team has surpassed all tax thresholds for the current year. However, projections indicate a significant decrease in this figure by 2025, with most estimates placing their taxable payroll at approximately $183 million. This substantial reduction in financial obligations could potentially enable the Yankees to not only afford Juan Soto but also engage in a competitive bidding war to secure his services.

This scenario aligns perfectly with Scott Boras’ strategy. The renowned super-agent recognizes that any amount obtained through an extension would pale in comparison to what Soto could command on the open market during his free agency. While discussions regarding an extension may take place, it would be unwise to anticipate a successful outcome. After all, Soto has already demonstrated his willingness to decline a substantial $440 million offer in the past, raising doubts about his inclination to accept a similar proposal in the future.

Insider bets on free agency for Juan Soto

MLB insider Jon Heyman has poured cold water on the rumors swirling around Juan Soto potentially agreeing to an in-season contract extension with the Yankees. According to Heyman, all signs point to the superstar slugger entering free agency at the end of the 2023 season.

Soto has already rejected numerous massive contract offers from the Nationals, including one well over $400 million. Heyman believes this is a clear indication that the 24-year-old wants to test the open market. With his generational talent, Soto is likely hoping to reset contract records, possibly even approaching the $700 million megadeal signed by Shohei Ohtani.

While the Yankees will undoubtedly back up the Brinks truck to make Soto a huge offer, he may choose to field bids from other big-market teams like the Cubs, Mets, and Dodgers. By turning down previous extensions, Soto’s agent Scott Boras seems intent on creating a bidding war frenzy this offseason.

Soto is certainly in pole position to cash in after another outstanding campaign where he’s hitting over .300 with an OPS north of .900. He’s a frontrunner for AL MVP. From Soto’s perspective, why accept a discount now when he can pursue maximizing his value on the open market in a few months?

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