The New York Yankees pulled off a blockbuster deal for outfielder Juan Soto this offseason, hopefully giving them the firepower to return to prominence in the AL East after missing the playoffs last season. But after acquiring Soto, a contract extension is on the horizon as the former Padres home-run hitter enters the final year of arbitration in 2024.
Brendan Kuty and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic recently made some bold predictions for the new year, including a massive extension for Soto at the end of next season.
The Yankees could give Juan Soto a massive contract extension next year
The Yankees are expecting Soto to make a tremendous impact on their offense. The three-time All-Star set a new career high with 35 home runs in 2023. Kuty and Kirschner predict that Soto will crush that career-high and set new records in 2024.
“With Judge hitting ahead of him, and with a potential half-billion-dollar payday looming in free agency, Soto hits 66 home runs, the majority coming courtesy of the short porch at Yankee Stadium,” Kuty predicts.
If Soto does indeed have such an incredible, record-breaking season, he will be in line for a massive extension as an unrestricted free agent in 2025.
Kirschner predicts a 12-year, $550 million extension for Soto in 2025 following a record-breaking 2024 season:
“If Soto goes out and breaks Judge’s AL single-season home run record for the most valuable franchise in the sport, this contract seems more than fair,” Kirschner explains. “And the Yankees will have to pay him what he’s worth. Judge had all of the leverage in the contract negotiation with the Yankees after hitting 62. Soto will have the same if this result happens.”
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How likely are these predictions to come true?
A player has hit 60 or more home runs in a single season only nine times in MLB history. Soto would be the 10th player in history to accomplish such a feat and only the fourth player of this millennium to reach the illustrious threshold. So, while Soto possesses monumental talent, topping Aaron Judge’s home-run record will not be an easy task and is not a likely outcome for any player.
Furthermore, Soto’s predicted $550 million extension would be worth $45.83 million AAV. This would make Soto the second-highest-paid player in the league — a more likely outcome.
Even if Soto doesn’t break records in 2024, he is still a three-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award Winner who has finished in the top 10 for MVP voting in four of his six career seasons. At only 25 years old, Soto has already built himself an incredible resume and has positioned himself for a massive payday in 2025.