Yankees preparing to make superstar ‘top priority’ in free agency next off-season

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, juan soto
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

When the Yankees acquired Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres, it was easy to anticipate another dominant season from the superstar 25-year-old Hall of Fame talent. However, the impact of his presence in the lineup has far exceeded anyone’s expectations.

After a season in which Soto played all 162 games, boasting a .275 average and a .410 on-base percentage, his performance over the first 19 games of the 2024 season has been even more impressive. In 90 plate appearances, he has compiled a .352 batting average, a .478 on-base percentage, and a .577 slugging percentage, including four home runs, 17 RBIs, a career-low 12.2% strikeout rate, and a 20% walk rate, contributing to a 209 wRC+.

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The Yankees Would Be Lost Without Juan Soto

The Yankees’ season has gotten off to a stellar start, with Soto playing a key role. The team currently holds the best record in baseball, just half a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East, boasting a .684 winning percentage and a +20 run differential.

Even when the Yankees’ offense has faltered, Soto has remained vigilant, recently delivering a three-hit performance in a comeback victory over Toronto on a Wednesday evening.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Soto’s contribution is his performance with runners in scoring position. In these situations, he’s batting an astounding .571 with a .650 on-base percentage and a 1.071 slugging percentage.

Moreover, he boasts a 1.721 OPS, with half of his home runs coming with men on base and only one strikeout in 13 plate appearances. With Aaron Judge experiencing a slump, Soto’s dominance has become crucial to their strategic approach.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Given his exceptional output, the Yankees are already considering a future extension for Soto, which could reach as high as $500 million.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, prioritizing Soto has become the team’s focus, which explains their decision to conserve resources this offseason rather than spending over $300 million to bolster their roster for a World Series bid.

“The Yankees will make Soto their ‘top priority,’ according to sources—no surprise since they loved him in winter and likely love him even more now that he has transformed their lineup.”

For Soto, this is merely the beginning of his journey in New York.

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