The Yankees have spent essentially no money in free agency this off-season, but there is hope they will splash a bit of cash on a starting pitcher like Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell. Of course, the trade market also represents a few good opportunities but general manager Brian Cashman is remaining cautious and calculated.
While the Yankees haven’t necessarily spent money in free agency, they certainly have acquired some big contracts, notably that of Juan Soto.
Soto is headed into the final year of arbitration before he becomes a free agent in 2025 at 26 years old. Soto is already in the middle of a Hall of Fame-level career and is the same age as some Yankee prospects.
Having played a minimum of 151 games over the past three consecutive seasons, Soto is in line to have another dominant campaign. He played all 162 games in 2023, hitting .275/410/.519, including a career-high 35 homers, 109 RBIs, and a 155 wRC+.
This is no ordinary player, this is a superstar talent who should give the Yankees a nasty batting order alongside Aaron Judge. They could hit 100 home runs combined next season, which would certainly be an exciting spectacle.
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The Yankees Have to Pay Juan Soto First
The Yankees have until 1 PM on Thursday afternoon to finalize a one-year contract to avoid arbitration. Alternatively, the two sides could go to arbitration and battle it out in court, but Soto already has an estimated $29 million salary. The Yankees could give him around that to make both parties happy, in fact, it is in their best interest to do a little bit more for Soto in hopes of convincing him to stay long-term.
As a Scott Boras client, Soto is going to hit free agency and get the most money possible, but the Yankees didn’t send a number of quality pitchers for one year of Soto, they wanted to chance to show him what they can offer.
A championship, what being a hero in the Bronx feels like, and an ungodly amount of money should get the job done, but the team is still a long way away from winning that bidding war.
Given the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers recently spent a boatload on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they may have a difficult time landing Soto on a long-term contract, but the Yankees certainly have the financial firepower and saved $300 million by missing out on Yamamoto.
They have no excuse not to make a significant run at the superstar lefty, and if he enjoys his time in New York during the 2024 season, Cashman will certainly have a strong hand to play and an extension could come together quickly following the end of the season.