Just In: Yankees to Sign 4-Time Silver Slugger to $600 Million Deal…

Speculation about how much it might take for the New York Yankees to retain Juan Soto beyond the 2024 season began almost as soon as they pulled off the blockbuster trade to acquire him in December.

You can’t blame fans for being eager to lock in the 25-year-old Soto, who is set to hit free agency after the season, beyond a one-year rental. He is a four-time Silver Slugger, three-time All-Star, former National League batting champion and has led the big leagues in OBP twice in his six-year career.

Projecting what it will cost to do so in their “Yankees 2024 bold predictions” for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty predicted the team will get a deal done with Soto to the tune of $600 million.

“It’s so much money. It’ll also be so worth it,” they wrote. “Only five hitters have had at least 3,000 plate appearances through their age-24 season and had an OPS+ of at least 157. Soto is one of them. The others? Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Fox… The Yankees didn’t trade for Soto to not keep him around.”

A $600 Million Deal from the New York Yankees Would Make Juan Soto the Highest-Paid Hitter in MLB History

A $600 million contract would put Soto among the highest-paid players in MLB history. He would rank only behind Shohei Ohtani, who got $700 million to join the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason. But Ohtani is one of the best pitchers in the big leagues along with being one of its most prolific sluggers. The deal would put Soto at the top of all players who don’t take the mound.

The deal predicted by Kirschner and Kuty would bring Soto more than the $426.5 million extension Mike Trout got from the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, the $365 million extension Mookie Betts got from the Dodgers in 2020 and the $360 million deal Soto’s teammate Aaron Judge got from the Yankees in 2022.

And there’s reason to believe it will cost a record-setting amount to secure Soto’s services into the future.

“Several years ago, Soto’s father said in an interview that Scott Boras told him he wanted his son to sign for $500 million,” Kirschner and Kuty added. “Soto denied Boras said that, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility for a soon-to-be-26-year-old perennial MVP contender. He’s one of the best young hitters of all time.”

The New York Yankees Will Face Competition to Re-Sign Juan Soto

Of course, the Yankees are likely to face stiff competition to lock Soto in. Virtually every high-spending team could enter the sweepstakes, and early conjecture points at a cross-town rival to emerge as one of the most likely suitors.

“Sure, the Yankees have the distinct advantage of having his undivided attention for most of 2024 to sell him on life in pinstripes,” as Jon Heyman wrote for the New York Post. “However, folks around the game are suggesting that after a year on practical free-agent hiatus, Steve Cohen’s Mets may become the biggest competitor for Soto’s services.”

Finally, Kirschner and Kuty noted that Soto has been making himself at home with the Yankees, suggesting they might have the inside track to re-sign him, provided they can match the highest offers from competing clubs within and outside of New York.

“Soto made his first move toward staying in pinstripes forever when he visited the Yankees’ academy in the Dominican Republic,” they noted. “The players, many of them teens, hung on every word from Soto, whom they dream of being like someday.”

Beyond what he does on the field, the chance to have those kids dream of wearing the same uniform as Soto will surely be baked into the offers he sees from across MLB.

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