It sounds like All-Star outfielder Juan Soto won’t dedicate his long-term future to the New York Yankees anytime soon after he joined them from the San Diego Padres via a trade announced late Wednesday night.
“People have wondered would he sign an extension with the Yankees sometime this winter,” ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney said about Soto during the latest edition of the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast, as shared by Ryan Gilbert of Audacy. “I think there’s little-to-no chance of that. I think he’s looking to have a launch year and become next winter’s Shohei Ohtani.”
While SNY’s Andy Martino reported earlier in the week that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to raise the club’s payroll “to more than $300M for the first time” to pay the likes of Soto and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto when big-money players such as Aaron Judge are already on the books, Yankees senior vice president and general manager Brian Cashman revealed on Thursday he hadn’t “had any conversations regarding” an extension with Soto.
Soto is set to become a free agent after the 2024 season and likely will ink a deal larger than the nine-year, $360M contract Judge signed last December. As for Ohtani, the two-way superstar could be close to putting pen to paper on an agreement worth around $600M that may or may not come from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Steinbrenner retained both Cashman and manager Aaron Boone after the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but Boone only has a year left on his contract that includes a club option for 2025. Olney suggested that Boone and/or Cashman possibly being on the hot seat is one reason why the Yankees “had to” trade for Soto even if the 25-year-old technically is a one-year rental as of the second full weekend of December.
“I think the Yankees are under a lot of pressure after a disastrous year,” Olney explained. “They’re pushing all the chips in the middle of the table for 2024 which is Aaron Boone’s last year under contract as manager of the Yankees.”