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Anonymous AL Executive: ‘No chance’ Juan Soto signs extension with Yankees during season

Juan Soto Yankees
Yankees outfielder Juan Soto entered the 2024 MLB season in the final year of arbitration. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Anonymous AL Executive: ‘No chance’ Juan Soto signs extension with Yankees during season

Juan Soto, who the New York Yankees acquired from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player deal in December, has been one of the biggest reasons for the team’s surge atop the American League through the first two months of the 2024 MLB season.

There was plenty of skepticism surrounding Soto, a Scott Boras client, entering the final year of arbitration, would sign an extension to keep him in pinstripes long-term in the offseason. No deal was made. Soto is open to the possibility, but an anonymous American League executive has serious doubts about any midseason extension being signed.

“There’s no chance,” the executive told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. “I think he ultimately signs back with the Yankees, but Scott takes his guys into free agency.”

“A 25-year-old Juan Soto has to hit free agency regardless of the agent,” the AL exec said. “He’s too good a player having too of a good year.”

Soto, 25, has been one of the best outfielders in baseball through the first 49 games of the season. He’s on an MVP track, slashing .316/.415/.551 with 11 home runs, 37 RBIs, nine doubles, one triple and more walks (33) than strikeouts (32) entering Tuesday. He’s top-3 in the AL in on-base percentage, total bases, hits, runs created, RBIs and walks; he places in the top-10 in OPS+, slugging percentage and extra-base hits, per Stathead.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has recently entered the MVP conversation, too, sporting a 1.314 OPS over his last 25 games. For perspective, as of right now, depending on the sportsbook, Soto and Judge are both in the top-2/3 in MVP odds, to give you an idea of how good both have been relative to their peers.

Soto’s price is only going to continue going up by the season’s end, and Boras is likely aware of that. He turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension–$29.3 million per season, on average–in July of 2022. The Yankees may have to get up to at least $35-40 million per season if it wants to retain Soto.

The Yankees’ A, B and C priorities–why stop there?–should be to retain Soto whenever they can. But it doesn’t appear that it could happen anytime before the fall, barring something unforeseen.

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