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Juan Soto Rumors: 'Not Many' MLB Teams Can Afford Yankees Star on Free-Agent Contract

Mike Chiari

Amid the New York Yankees' interest in potentially negotiating an in-season contract extension with superstar outfielder Juan Soto, anonymous MLB sources noted that there aren't many other teams capable of signing the three-time All-Star.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, an anonymous MLB executive commented on what Soto's market may look like if he hits free agency, saying: "Not many teams that can afford him, so the pool is limited. But it's hard not to wait and see what the [New York] Mets are willing to pay."

An anonymous American League exec also chimed in, saying: "There are teams out there capable of winning that have money. The [Los Angeles] Dodgers are out there. The Mets are out there. There aren't many, but there are places he can land."

Soto is in the midst of the final year of his contract, and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is hoping to prevent him from testing the market.

Steinbrenner said last week on a YES Network podcast (h/t Feinsand) that while neither he nor Soto's agent, Scott Boras, typically do in-season negotiating, he is open to having talks.

"There's no chance," an American League executive said. "I think he ultimately signs back with the Yankees, but Scott takes his guys into free agency."

Despite being just 25 years of age, Soto is already a highly accomplished player in the midst of his seventh MLB season.

Soto spent parts of his first five seasons with the Washington Nationals, earning two All-Star selections, a batting title, a second-place finish in the National League MVP voting and a World Series win.

The Nats traded Soto to the San Diego Padres when they were unable to come to terms on a contract extension, and he enjoyed parts of two productive seasons in San Diego.

Like the Nationals, the Padres failed to sign Soto to an extension, so they dealt him to the Yanks during the offseason for a package of Major League players and prospects headlined by pitcher Michael King.

The trade has paid instant dividends for the Yanks, as Soto is perhaps the American League MVP front-runner thus far with a .316/.415/.551 slash line to go along with 11 home runs and 37 RBI for a Yankees team that has the AL's best record at 33-16.

Soto stands to receive one of the biggest contracts in MLB history from the Yankees or another team when he eventually signs his new deal.

Shohei Ohtani signed a record-breaking, 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason. His status as a two-way player undoubtedly played a role in the deal, but since Soto is four years younger, an argument can be made for him meeting or exceeding that contract.

As mentioned by one of the anonymous executives, the Dodgers are one of the few teams with the financial means to sign Soto, although it is tough to imagine them doing so after just handing out massive deals to Ohtani and pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Mets have an owner who is more than willing to spend big bucks in the form of Steve Cohen, but the Yankees have the benefit of already having Soto in-house, so he could conceivably favor re-signing with them.

Soto told reporters last week after Steinbrenner's comments that he is open to in-season talks, but added: "For me right here, I'm focusing on playing baseball. My thing is try to help the team win."

While an in-season extension isn't impossible, it perhaps becomes more unlikely as Soto continues to produce since he and Boras would conceivably like to see what other interested teams have to offer.

   

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