Yankees Will Be ‘Aggressive’ in Signing Projected $540 Million Star: Report

Yankees Will Be ‘Aggressive’ in Signing Projected $540 Million Star: Report

Yankees star Juan Soto (right)

GettyYankees star Juan Soto (right)

It was certainly a sterling debut in pinstripes for new Yankees star Juan Soto, who went 1-for-3 at the plate with two walks, but more importantly, threw out Mauricio Dubon at the plate in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the Yankees’ 5-4 win. If the team’s decision on whether the grant Soto a big contract next offseason is dependent on what happens here in 2024, well, the sides are off to a good start.

The Yankees acquired Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham from the Padres in December for a strong contingent of young players, with right-handed pitchers Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez and Drew Thorpe along with catcher Kyle Higashioka going to San Diego.


The Padres moved Soto for the same reason the Nationals traded him more than a year earlier—because he would prove to be too expensive to keep. Soto had turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from Washington, and the Padres were not going to better that offer.

But a major-market team like the Yankees could. In fact, they’re expected to try, though there will be competition. According to ESPN, the Yankees will be “aggressive” in trying to keep Soto around when he hits free agency next year.

Juan Soto Should Be a Perfect Fit

Writing about Soto’s new home in New York, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez pointed out that the future of Soto and the Yankees could rest on how well he fits in with his new team. But the Yankees certainly are not planning on letting Soto walk.


“The Yankees are expected to be aggressive in their efforts to bring Soto back this offseason, even if it means giving him a contract that tops the one signed by their captain, Judge, who landed a nine-year, $360 million deal as a 30-year-old in December 2022,” Gonzalez wrote.

“The results of 2024 could have a lot of sway.”

Certainly, there are high expectations. The meat of the Yankees order figures to go Soto batting second, Judge batting third, Giancarlo Stanton at cleanup and Anthony Rizzo fifth. If everyone stays healthy, the Yankees could have a powerful offense.

Soto will be a critical part of that, as both a slugger himself and a set-up hitter from the No. 2 spot. Soto has hit 160 home runs in seven seasons, and knocked a career-high 35 last year. He also had a league-best 132 walks, and has led the league in walks for three straight seasons.

Yankees Not Expecting an Extension


Soto, at age 25, is an ideal fit. It is possible, of course, that the Yankees could get ahead of the game and sign Soto to an extension before free agency. With some players, that might well be the way to go. But Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, wants his player to get into free agency, where other teams can get involved in the bidding. General manager Brian Cashman understands that and knows no extension is coming.

If the Yankees want to keep Soto after this year, they will have to win the bidding next winter. Spotrac projects Soto to land a 12-year, $408 million contract, while The Athletic projects him getting 14 years and $540 million.

“We recognized when we went into this situation that the odds are that it’s a one-year situation before free agency,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told MLB Network in February. “Certainly, that can change, I guess, but the odds are certainly against that. He’s this close to free agency. I don’t see too many things stopping him from hitting free agency.

“So we’re just looking to see if we collectively can crush it together, have an amazing walk year and [have] him put up the numbers he’s capable of putting up with the cast of characters that we’re going to surround him with. See if we all can have a good time and then have a conversation thereafter.”


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