Columnist Predicts Winner of Juan Soto Bidding War Between Yankees & Mets

Juan Soto

Getty Yankees outfielder Juan Soto will be the top free agent available this winter. Predictions on his next contract involve some huge numbers.

Outfielder Juan Soto is off to a tremendous start in 2024 for the New York Yankees. He’s hitting .312/.409/.563 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI through his first 237 plate appearances. The slugger is also already getting MVP chants from Yankee fans in the Bronx. Will he stay with the Bombers or could the New York Mets swoop in and steal him once he becomes a free agent this winter? 

Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer gave a detailed breakdown of the situation. Soto fits both squads, and each big-market club could afford his potential $500-plus million price tag. But which organization will win the potential bidding war for his services? 

“The heart says Soto will end up remaining with the Yankees. It may be a new relationship, but it just feels so…well, so right. But the head says the Mets,” Rymer said. “Though both clubs can afford a $500 million deal for Soto, the Mets seem more able to afford it.”

He also detailed the future salary commitments for both clubs between 2025 and 2030. The Mets have a sizable advantage with $515 million on the books. Meanwhile, the Yankees have $647.3 million committed. A significant chunk includes salaries for Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Rodon. 

The Soto sweepstakes will likely involve more than just the Yankees and Mets. He’s open to any team interested in pursuing him. However, it seems like the two New York teams could be the most aggressive.

A Yankees-Mets Bidding War for Soto Has Been Brewing for Months

While the Bombers would love to avoid watching Soto hit free agency, agreeing on an extension appears unlikely. The Scott Boras client has rejected seven contract extension offers over the years. Suddenly changing course so close to free agency probably won’t happen. 

Soto is preparing for a huge payday as the top available player next winter. The Athletic’s Tim Britton estimated the left-handed slugger’s value at 14 years and $540 million last December. 

Only a handful of MLB teams would be open to committing that much money to one player. The Mets have been floated as a legitimate possibility since at least the start of Spring Training. 

SNY’s Andy Martino shared a report saying such on February 18. He did say it was too early to have anything concrete regarding Soto and his potential free-agent market. However, he also said, “There really isn’t any reason why the Mets wouldn’t make a push for Soto.”

Other more recent reports have also discussed the likelihood of the Mets making a serious push for Soto. 

The Yankees’ Current Payroll Level Is ‘Not Sustainable’

Dan Martin of the New York Post caught comments from Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner at the owners’ meetings at MLB headquarters on May 22 that raised some eyebrows. 

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” Steinbrenner said. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

New York’s 2024 payroll is currently at about $313 million, per Spotrac. However, he also said this desire to lower payroll won’t impact the club’s eventual efforts to retain Soto. New York is expected to be “aggressive” in its pursuit of the outfielder. 

The Yankees will have several current players reach free agency to clear the budget sheet at the end of this season, too. That could include Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, Alex Verdugo, Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle and several other relief pitchers. 

It will be interesting to see just how serious both clubs are about signing Soto once free agency opens. And also, which other teams might join the sweepstakes. 

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