June 24, 2024

The New York Yankees made a significant move during the offseason by trading four pitching prospects and a catcher to acquire Juan Soto and Trent Grisham from the San Diego Padres. While Soto has delivered early results with impressive hitting stats, the Yankees might face challenges in retaining him beyond this season when he becomes a highly sought-after free agent.

Juan Soto has Yankees in awe after launching third homer in four games

Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic highlighted two reasons why the crosstown rival New York Mets could have an advantage in securing Soto’s long-term commitment. Firstly, with the Mets, Soto would be the unquestioned star player, unlike with the Yankees where he shares the spotlight with Aaron Judge. Additionally, if negotiations come down to financial terms, the Mets, backed by owner Steve Cohen and with David Stearns in charge, could potentially offer a more enticing deal compared to other teams.

“And two, I find it very hard to believe if Steve Cohen says, ‘Let’s go, I don’t care what he wants, we’re gonna win this,’ that Scott Boras and Juan Soto — based on what they have said, based on their past — I find it very hard to believe that they would leave money on the table when it comes to this negotiation,” Ghiroli said. “So, I think the Mets have a real, actual chance here.”

The New York Yankees Face Financial Constraints for 2025 and Beyond
In the event that Soto enters free agency, the competition for his signature will be intense. As a standout hitter at just 25 years old, Soto boasts an impressive resume, being a three-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger. He has led all of MLB in walks three times and in on-base percentage twice.

Ghiroli has previously highlighted the financial limitations that the Yankees would encounter in adding another high-value, long-term contract to their payroll. With Aaron Judge set to earn $40 million, Gerrit Cole $36 million, and Giancarlo Stanton $32 million in 2025, the Yankees may hesitate to match Soto’s reported desire for a record-breaking average annual value (AAV) contract, potentially surpassing Shohei Ohtani’s $46 million annual salary, especially under the new competitive balance tax (CBT) rules.

“Given the Yankees’ existing financial commitments, the higher luxury tax represents a continuing financial burden for the team,” noted Dave Salamone for Pinstripe Alley. “It appears that there is less incentive to surpass this spending threshold compared to when the tax rates were more manageable.”

The New York Yankees Still Have the Opportunity to Secure Juan Soto’s Future
However, Ghiroli pointed out that the Yankees have one avenue to secure Soto’s commitment before he explores offers from other teams as a free agent: winning the World Series this year.

“Juan Soto wants to win,” she emphasized. “If the Yankees go out and win a World Series, I do think that that would matter to Juan Soto.”

Brian Cashman

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