Yankees’ Impending Free Agent Projected Best in Class, ‘Could Top $500 Million’

Getty The New York Yankees could face stiff competition to re-sign Juan Soto.

Yankees Juan Soto 'Could Top $500 Million' as Best Free Agent - Heavy.com

Now that the 2024 MLB season is underway, there is a new class of impending free agents and none is expected to be more popular than New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto.

After arriving in New York as the result of a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres, Soto agreed to a one-year, $31 million record deal to avoid arbitration. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has indicated that the likelihood of an extension before he hits the open market are slim, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, and he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season as a result.

Projecting the “top 10 potential 2024-25 free agents” for the New York Post, Mark W. Sanchez ranked Soto at the top of the list.

“He already reportedly turned down a $440 million extension for the (Washington) Nationals,” according to Sanchez. “The generational slugger will hit the open market at just 26 and could top $500 million.”

How Much Will New York Yankees Slugger Juan Soto Earn in His Next Contract?

According to some other prevalent projections, Sanchez might be underselling the kind of deal that will be waiting for Soto.

“Let’s value the first five years of a Soto contract at $50 million each and his age-31 through age-39 seasons at 80 percent of (Aaron) Judge, or $32 million,” The Athletic’s Tim Britton projected. “Add those two pieces together and you get a 14-year deal worth right around $540 million in free agency.”

Britton’s colleague Jim Bowden predicted he would get $501 million while The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty projected Soto will earn $600 million. Eli Ben-Porat predicted he would land a record-breaking $701 million deal.

Why Is Juan Soto in Line for a Record Deal?

At just 25 years old, Soto’s on-field resume and potential all but speak for themselves.

“Across parts of six major-league seasons, Soto has authored a slash line of .284/.421/.524 while averaging 133 walks and 33 home runs per 162 games played,” CBS Sports reported. “That .421 career OBP leads all active players, and his career OPS+ of 157 is third only to Mike Trout and new teammate Aaron Judge among active players.”

After front offices spent more than $3.68 billion ahead of the 2024 campaign, it’s hard to put a ceiling on the kind of deal a player like Soto could ultimately earn.

“Soto, a Scott Boras client, will become baseball’s most coveted free agent in a little more than seven months,” Alden Gonzalez wrote for ESPN.com. “Given the heavy deferrals in Shohei Ohtani’s contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers — he signed for $700 million, but the present-day value, based on how it impacts the competitive balance tax payroll, sits at $460 million — Soto still has a chance to sign the richest contract in baseball history.”

One thing that’s certain is that there will be fierce competition to sign Soto, even at a record-breaking price. Projecting Soto’s most likely landing spots for Bleacher Report, Zachary Rymer listed the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, in addition to the Yankees, as possible homes.

Wherever he goes, Soto has indicated he hopes his next deal is his last one.

“That’s the best thing for me,” Soto told Gonzalez. “Stay in one place and try to, whenever I do this deal, just finish in that one spot.”

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