Yankees Owner Raises Likelihood of In-Season Extension for Juan Soto

Hal Steinbrenner

Getty New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner raised the possibility of extending Juan Soto before the season's over.

The New York Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner has emphasized the likelihood of in-season negotiations to extend Juan Soto, the team’s leader in hits, batting average and on-base percentage, who is widely seen as the most coveted member of the next free agent class should he test the market. 

Finalizing an extension with a player during the season would mark a significant exception for the Yankees and Soto has been projected to earn a deal in the $500 million range that would make him the highest-paid player in MLB history aside from Shohei Ohtani. Agreeing to stay with the Yankees before season’s end would also be a noteworthy exception for agent Scott Boras, who represents Soto.

“I think we’d like to see him here for the rest of his career,” Steinbrenner told YES Network’s Jack Curry, according to the transcript of an unreleased interview as read during a recent Yankees broadcast. “I don’t think there’s any doubt of that. His agent Scott doesn’t tend to normally do deals in the middle of the season. Neither do I.”

Juan Soto Seems to Be Earning an Extension Offer from the New York Yankees

“I would not be shocked if there was a conversation or two had, possibly during the course of the season,” Steinbrenner added. “I think it’s worth doing at some point.”

The Yankees historically avoid negotiating with players during the season. Since Steinbrenner took principal control of the team in 2008, he has largely maintained a policy that waiting until the free agency period is his “business policy” as he told the Associated Press in 2010.

But Soto could be worthy of an exception to this policy. He is a three-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger whose career .420 on-base percentage leads all of the majors

The New York Yankees Face Payroll Limitations in Extending Juan Soto

But even if the Yankees believe Soto is interested in waring pinstripes for the rest of his career, making room for his projected salary might be a challenge.

The team is already committed to more than $200 million in payroll for 2025 alone, with $40 million allocated for Aaron Judge, $36 million for Gerrit Cole and $32 million for Giancarlo Stanton in 2025. Those limitations have put a damper on predictions that the Yankees will be able to stomach the tax penalties that would likely come with adding a major commitment for Soto.

“Under Hal Steinbrenner … the payroll has taken on an increased focus,” The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli pointed out during an appearance on SNY. “I don’t know if he would be willing to take on another salary that, let’s be honest, is probably going to be at least $40 million… I just don’t see how the Yankees are able to pay a guy like Soto.”

But the new emphasis from Steinbrenner could indicate a growing willingness to pay what it takes to retain Soto. If the financials match Boras’ expectations, it seems a deal could be made. In the meantime, Soto seems poised to continue making his case on the field.

“Always happy to talk with Hal,” the agent told Curry. “Juan is getting to know the Yankee organization. His singular focus is winning.”

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