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#pounditWednesday, July 24, 2024

Juan Soto expected to make more than $500 million in free agency?

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

Juan Soto is having a monster season as he gets set to become a free agent, and many around baseball believe the New York Yankees slugger is going to secure a massive payday.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel spoke with 28 MLB agents, executives and insiders to get a sense of the type of contract Soto could secure either via free agency or an extension with the Yankees. Of those who were polled, only three believe Soto will get less than $400 million. The majority (17) predict that Soto will sign for more than $500 million, with three respondents saying he will get at least $600 million.

Soto might be seeking a bigger contract than the one Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason. Though, that 10-year, $700 million deal contains a tremendous amount of deferrals. When factoring in deferrals, the present-day value of Ohtani’s contract was calculated at $460 million, giving him an average annual value of $46 million. Soto is probably looking to top that figure.

The 25-year-old Soto is on pace to set career highs across the board this season. He is batting .316 with 17 home runs, 53 RBI and a 1.020 OPS. If that pace continues, his case for a $500 million-plus contract will become even stronger.

Soto has said he is open to in-season negotiations with New York, but he would probably have to be confident he cannot get more on the free-agent market. Given the comments Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner made earlier in the year, is is fair to wonder if the Bronx Bombers are prepared to be the highest bidder for Soto.

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