Can The Yankees Afford To Re-Sign Juan Soto?

Yankees Resign Juan Soto Image Credit: Ryan Casey Aguinaldo, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 04. Jun 2024.

It's no secret the New York Yankees would like to re-sign All-Star slugger Juan Soto to a long-term deal. However, the sweet-swinging outfielder is keeping all his options available as he prepares to become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason.

Soto's Contract Rejection & Financial Implications

Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension from the Nationals two years ago, and several reports suggest that it will take $500 million to sign the 25-year-old. It's a price that New York might be willing to pay despite owner Hal Steinbrenner's desire to reduce payroll next season.

"I'm gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we're at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially," Steinbrenner said recently at the owners' meetings. "It wouldn't be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership , given the luxury tax we have to pay.

"I've been a broken record : I don't believe I should have a $300 million payroll to win a championship," Steinbrenner said. "I believe I need a good mix of veterans, who are gonna make a lot more money, but also we've put a lot of money into our player development system in the last 5-10 years. And in my opinion, we have one of the better ones in baseball now."

Current Payroll & Future Flexibility

The Yankees $305 million payroll this season is second to the New York Mets, according to New York has $202 million already set for 2025 and should be able to afford Soto if the organization decides to bring back one of the league's premier hitters.

"We've got a considerable amount of money coming off ," Steinbrenner said. "We didn't have a considerable amount of money coming off last offseason, which is why we're at where we're at.

"I had no doubt Juan Soto would perform in New York," Steinbrenner added. "The market, the pressure, none of that was gonna be a problem. : How would he interact with the fans, how would he interact with , how would he interact with his teammates? Those were the three questions I had, and he's been great on all three."

Similar to Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman also feels that Soto is a great fit in the Bronx.

"When we traded for him, we certainly hoped we could keep him," Cashman said. "We also recognize he'll be making his own decision either way. We hope we can make it hard on him."

Cashman sent five players - Michael King, Kyle Higashioka, Randy Vasquez, Drew Thorpe, and Jhony Brito - to the San Diego Padres in December to acquire Soto and outfielder Trent Grisham. The veteran general manager is not surprised by Soto's early success wearing pinstripes.

"He's a generational talent," said Cashman. "We expected him to be great and he is great. We're happy we made the decision to acquire him and look forward to him playing out this year and, hopefully, years to come."

Soto's Performance & Future Plans

Soto has enjoyed a productive start with the Yankees and enters Memorial Day batting .310 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. Although New York has signaled a willingness to negotiate a contract extension during the regular season, Soto and his agent Scott Boras are preparing to test the open market this winter unless the Yankees come knocking earlier. 

As the season progresses, fans and analysts will be closely monitoring his performance, and the best MLB betting sites provide an opportunity for fans to engage with predictions on his future and ongoing stats.

"If they want to call Scott and start talking about it, it's up to them," Soto said. "Scott, they know his phone number and everything. They know where to call. For me right here, I'm focusing on playing baseball.

"My thing is try to help the team to win as much games as we can and try to focus on winning a championship. I think that's what would want me to do at the end of the day, just focus on playing baseball and try to win games. But if he wants to talk about it, he can call Scott."

Optimism & Challenges for the Yankees

Despite Soto's desire to open a bidding war for his services during the next offseason, Cashman remains optimistic the Yankees can keep the young superstar in New York.

"We'll see how it all plays out," Cashman said. "We want to keep him and we're pleased with how it's going. We think he enjoys playing here, we know he loves the fan base and his teammates."

The Yankees will have several interesting decisions to make over the winter to slash payroll and ink Soto to a record-setting contract. Staff ace Gerrit Cole can opt out this upcoming offseason and test free agency unless New York adds an additional year at $36 million. And that is just the beginning of the tough decisions Cashman must make once this season ends.

Financial Decisions & Player Contracts

Several current players will not be back next season due to financial reasons. Middle infielder Gleyber Torres is doubtful to return at $14.2 million, and Anthony Rizzo needs a productive campaign to avoid a $6 million buyout. The first baseman, who has a $17 million club option, could negotiate a team-friendly deal for next year.

The list of potential free agents is a lengthy one. Outfielder Alex Verdugo ($8.7 million), along with relievers Clay Holmes ($6 million) and Tommy Kahnle ($5.7 million), would save the Yankees $20.4 million next year. Relievers Jonathan Loaisiga, Caleb Ferguson, Luke Weaver, and Lou Trivino would save the club an additional $8.4 million.

Grisham is also unlikely to return next season at his current $5.5 million salary, as well as utility infielder Jon Berti at $3.5 million. New York also has nearly $9 million still owed to Aaron Hicks through 2025. 

Soto's Time in New York

While it remains unclear if the Yankees will be able to afford Soto on the open market, what is clear is how much the ultra-talented outfielder is enjoying his time in the Bronx. Soto's impact on the Yankees' success has been significant, as his powerful hitting and consistent performance plays a crucial role in the team's playoff push and overall competitiveness.

"It's been pretty nice, it's been pretty cool," Soto said. "Fan base has been amazing, not only in New York, they've been all over every stadium we go. You can hear it. So the fan base has been unbelievable. New York feels great. It's a lot of culture, a lot of Hispanic culture and everything. I've been feeling good so far and the stadium and clubhouse and everything has been pretty cool."

Betting on the Yankees' Future

As the Yankees navigate their financial and roster decisions, fans and analysts alike are speculating on potential outcomes for the season. With Juan Soto's contract situation and other key player negotiations on the horizon, the stakes are high.

For those looking to add an extra layer of excitement, New York's leading sportsbooks offer various betting options on how the Yankees will fare. Whether it's predicting Soto's future in pinstripes or the team's overall performance, the upcoming offseason promises to be a thrilling period for Yankees supporters and bettors alike. Stay tuned as the drama unfolds in the Bronx.

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