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#pounditSaturday, June 15, 2024

Juan Soto comments on his free agent status

Juan Soto with the Yankees

Feb 25, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Juan Soto (22) smiles in the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Superstar slugger Juan Soto is open to in-season negotiations with the New York Yankees but they may not be alone in bidding for his services.

Prior to Friday night’s game against his former team, the San Diego Padres, Soto told reporters that his representation “ain’t closing any doors” when it comes to his impending free agency.

“We’re going to be open to listen to anybody and everybody,” Soto said, via Sammy Levitt of 97.3 The Fan. “Whoever wants to talk and talk about deals and stuff, I’m open to deal with anybody. I don’t have any problem (with that).”

Soto also acknowledged that it may never reach that point. He implied that a deal could, potentially, be reached with the Yankees long before he hits the open market.

“That’s going to be in the future,” Soto said of possible free agent negotiations. “We’re going to see if we make it to the future. But right now, I am focusing on 2024 and I’m part of the Yankees. I’m a Yankee right now, throughout 2024, and my goals are really clear — win a championship here.”

The Yankees acquired Soto in an offseason trade with the Padres knowing that it could be a one-and-done season. However, given Soto’s remarkable success at this point in the season, it would behoove the Bombers to get him under contract before any type of bidding war can even take shape.

The problem, however, is that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t believe the current payroll is sustainable.

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” Steinbrenner said, via Dan Martin of the New York Post. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

With Soto expected to seek a significant payday, the Yankees will have to get creative with their books if they wish to retain him. One option is a deferred deal similar to the one Shohei Ohtani agreed to with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it’s something Soto would also have to sign off on.

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