‘Absolutely zero’ chance of Yankees, Juan Soto reaching in-season deal, claims insider

Yankees' Juan Soto hits a homer of the day against the White Sox on May 18, 2024, at Yankee Stadium.
John Allen
Monday May 20, 2024

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Juan Soto has indicated he is “open” to the idea of in-season negotiations with the Yankees. However, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has emphatically stated that there is “absolutely zero chance” of a deal being reached before the slugger becomes a free agent.

“The cold truth is there is absolutely zero chance Soto will sign before he’s a free agent,” according to him.

When the New York Yankees acquired Juan Soto for the final year of his contract before he hit free agency, they surrendered five players and $31 million for the privilege. The team appears optimistic about the possibility of reaching an in-season agreement to extend his contract, thus avoiding the competitive landscape of free agency.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner suggested that although Juan Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, typically refrains from discussing contracts during the season, there might be an exception in this case. “It’s a unique situation involving a very unique player,” Steinbrenner remarked. “I wouldn’t be shocked if there were a conversation or two during the season.”

But Nightengale is pessimistic about any chance of the Yankees reaching a deal with Juan Soto during the 2024 season.

“While Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said he’s interested in engaging in contract talks with right fielder Juan Soto and agent Scott Boras to avert free agency, with Soto saying he’s willing to listen, the cold truth is there is absolutely zero chance Soto will sign before he’s a free agent. He turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Washington Nationals two years ago. So, what’s another six months? Soto can keep on hitting, sit back, and watch the bidding war emerge between the Yankees and Mets. Let’s see who blinks first and gives him $500 million.”

Yankees want an in-season Juan Soto deal

The New York Yankees have been presented with a golden opportunity to secure the long-term services of their star outfielder, Juan Soto after he expressed his willingness to engage in contract extension negotiations during the ongoing season. This development has opened the door for the Yankees to potentially make Soto one of the highest-paid players in MLB history.

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AP

Since he arrived in New York, Juan Soto has exceeded expectations and proven to be a vital cog in the Yankees’ lineup. He shouldered the offensive burden early in the season, providing consistent production until the resurgence of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. With the team’s long-time sluggers now firing on all cylinders, the Yankees have emerged as one of the most formidable teams in the league.

When the Yankees orchestrated the blockbuster trade to acquire Juan Soto in the offseason, the prevailing belief was that it would be a short-lived partnership, with he likely to test the waters of free agency the following winter. Despite the risk of losing him after just one season, the Yankees deemed the move worthwhile.

However, Juan Soto’s MVP-caliber performance has prompted the Yankees organization to publicly express their desire to lock him up with a long-term contract. Intriguingly, he has reciprocated this sentiment, informing reporters of his openness to negotiating an extension during the regular season.

“They know the phone number and everything, and they know where to call,” Juan Soto remarked while emphasizing his current focus on helping the team achieve success on the field.

As the Yankees contemplate their next move, the prospect of securing Juan Soto’s services for the foreseeable future has become an enticing possibility. With both parties seemingly open to discussions, the stage is set for a potential mega-deal that could redefine the landscape of MLB contracts.

Yankees face hurdles in Juan Soto extension

New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto’s recent comments about his openness to in-season contract negotiations have sparked a glimmer of hope among fans, but the reality of the situation may be far more complex. Keeping the slugger from testing the waters of MLB free agency would be a monumental achievement for the Yankees, as they face the prospect of fierce competition from deep-pocketed clubs like the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.

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Yankees

However, Jon Heyman of the New York Post, during an appearance on Around the Bases, cast doubt on the likelihood of Juan Soto signing an extension with the Yankees this season. Heyman characterized the superstar’s remarks as a “nice one-day story” but questioned the probability of an in-season agreement.

“I expect nothing to come from this. It’s a nice one-day story, but what are the chances he signs in-season? He’s turned down seven contracts to this point, and I believe that’s to reach free agency,” Heyman asserted.

Juan Soto’s representation by agent Scott Boras further complicates matters. Boras is known for encouraging his clients to explore their market value and fostering competition among potential suitors. Even if the Yankees are prepared to make Soto the highest-paid player in baseball history, it’s likely that other teams would be willing to extend similar offers.

While Boras’ approach didn’t yield the desired results for some of his top free agents last offseason, Juan Soto’s exceptional talent and status as one of the game’s elite players ensure that he’ll have no shortage of enticing proposals to consider this winter.

n: Juan Soto, current player of the New York Yankees, standing with his agent Scott Boras during his time with the Washington Nationals
AP

Despite Steinbrenner’s expressed interest in engaging in contract discussions with Juan Soto and Boras to circumvent free agency, and the slugger’s apparent willingness to listen, the likelihood of an agreement being reached is virtually nonexistent. Juan Soto previously declined a staggering 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Washington Nationals two years ago, making the prospect of waiting an additional six months seem inconsequential. He can continue to showcase his exceptional skills on the field while observing the inevitable bidding war between the Yankees and Mets unfold, ultimately determining which team will present him with a $500 million offer.

As the season progresses, the baseball world will be closely monitoring the situation surrounding Juan Soto’s future. While the Yankees remain hopeful of securing his long-term commitment, the odds of an in-season extension seem increasingly slim. Juan Soto’s impending free agency looms large, and the stage is set for a fascinating bidding war that could redefine the landscape of player contracts in Major League Baseball.

Yankees' Juan Soto reacts after hitting two homers against the White Sox on May 18, 2024, at Yankee Stadium.

Juan Soto’s performance in the Bronx has been nothing short of remarkable, further solidifying his case for a lucrative contract. The three-time All-Star has posted a slash line of .317/.414/.561 through 47 games, launching 11 home runs and driving in 37 runs while leading the American League with 57 hits.

As the Yankees navigate this delicate situation, they must weigh the potential benefits of securing Juan Juan Soto’s long-term commitment against the challenges of negotiating with a player who has consistently prioritized reaching free agency. While his comments may have generated a buzz, the road to a contract extension remains fraught with uncertainty.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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