Yankees’ Juan Soto Predicted to Earn Record-Long Contract

Juan Soto

Getty Juan Soto

It seems that the longer we go into the 2024 MLB season, the more outrageous the predictions are for the contract that Juan Soto might earn in the offseason. There’s a reason for that: Soto is an outrageous player who is having an outrageous season. One MLB writer even suggests that his 2024 performance could fetch the Yankees outfielder a 15-year contract.

Bleacher Report’s Zachary Rymer projected in a piece published June 13 that Soto could sign a 15-year, $520 million contract.

That would be a major league record for the longest contract ever, surpassing the 14-year deal Fernando Tatis Jr. signed with the San Diego Padres in 2021. It would also take the 25-year-old Soto through his age 40 season, virtually guaranteeing that whoever signs him would keep the young superstar through his most productive years.

A 15-year deal may sound unlikely — and maybe it is — but it’s not out of the question. Remember, we’re only two years removed from Soto turning down a deal of the same length from the Washington Nationals, worth $440 million.

15 years and $520 million, as Rymer predicts, would give Soto an average salary of $34.67 million per year. That almost immediately whittles down his options to the handful of teams that could afford that yearly hit.

How Soto Can Stay with the Yankees

A Soto contract in the terms Rymer predicts would make him the second-highest-paid player on the Yankees, only behind team captain and American League Home Run King Aaron Judge. The two of them would take up more than 30% of the Yankees’ luxury tax allotment by themselves.

The Yankees have been open about wanting to cut payroll, but that wouldn’t necessarily take them out of the running for Soto. The Yankees will almost certainly decline Anthony Rizzo’s club option for next year, freeing up $17 million, while Gleyber Torres and his $14.2 million could move at the trade deadline. In addition, Trent Grisham has one more year of arbitration before free agency. The Yankees could simply decline to bring back the outfielder who makes $5.5 million and is hitting a touch over .100.

Is Juan Soto Worth the Record Contract?

All indications are that, yes, Soto is worth a contract at both the length and value that Rymer suggests. While it’s impossible to predict someone’s injury future, Soto’s past shows he’s as healthy as they come. He has played at least 150 games in every full season of his career, dating back to 2019.

As for his performance, Soto’s shift from quiet San Diego to the bright lights of the Bronx — and a switch in leagues for the first time in his career — has not slowed him down. Through 68 games, Soto is hitting .320 with a .433 on-base percentage and 1.025 OPS, which are all better than his career averages.

His advanced stats are just as good. Soto’s barrel percentage is a career-best 19% and so is his hard hit percentage (59.5%), per FanGraphs. He’s also hitting line drives at his highest rate since 2019 and more than a quarter of his fly balls are leaving the yard.

On defense, Rymer points out a 10-point swing in outs above average compared to last year. It all caused him to conclude that it’s probably best to just ignore that one player in The Athletic’s survey who said all he does is walk and hit singles.

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