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Agents question if Yankees will pay Juan Soto

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On a recent edition of his “Baseball Tonight” podcast, ESPN’s Buster Olney revealed how individuals within MLB feel about the New York Yankees possibly paying All-Star outfielder Juan Soto either before or after Soto reaches free agency this fall. 

“I had an executive recently tell me that if Soto got $550M, that wouldn’t surprise him,” Olney explained, per Jimmy Hascup of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. “I’ve had two agents tell me they think that’ll be a stretch for Soto to get $500M, especially from the Yankees. Because, remember, just a couple years ago, the Yankees gave Aaron Judge — homegrown star, the biggest star in the organization and captain of the team — $360M. That was a stretch for them. They were at $320M. Then the (San Diego) Padres got involved and they increased their offer.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has publicly said he wants Soto “here for the rest of his career,” and general manager Brian Cashman later teased that fans should “stay tuned” for updates on potential contract talks with agent Scott Boras. However, Steinbrenner mentioned this week that the club’s payroll as it exists today is “not sustainable” long-term due to luxury tax penalties. 

Insiders throughout baseball expect Boras to take Soto into free agency barring a historic “‘Godfather’ offer” from Steinbrenner. It’s widely believed New York Mets owner Steve Cohen will pursue Soto and possibly drive the 25-year-old’s asking price up after the World Series. 

“So agents are saying the idea that the Yankees are going to pay Soto $140M more, they’re kind of skeptical about that,” Olney continued during the podcast. “A couple have said, if it gets to $500M, it’s going to be because you get a little Shohei Ohtani accounting, where you’re gonna have a bunch of deferred money, which will inflate what the actual value looks like.”

Soto seems to be loving his first season with a first-place Yankees side that began Friday at 35-17. With that said, there’s no indication he’ll change his mind about wanting to reset the market for everyday MLB players later this year. 

As of Friday morning, DraftKings Sportsbook listed Soto as the betting favorite at +225 odds to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award for the season. 

At this rate, Soto may be more expensive on Nov. 1 than he is heading into Memorial Day.


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