Juan Soto contract extension: Will Yankees be able to keep him in Bronx?

The New York Yankees stole the headlines at the Winter Meetings when they grabbed Juan Soto in a trade with the San Diego Padres. But will they be able to sign him to a long-term contract extension?

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The New York Yankees made a huge move to cap off the Winter Meetings late on Wednesday when they officially acquired slugger and outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres. Trent Grisham also came over to the Yankees in the deal.

In exchange, New York sent Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, and Kyle Higashioka back to the Padres.

This is a pretty significant move for the Yankees, who were in need of some left-handed power in their lineup. They finally addressed that need, and also picked up Alex Verdugo in a trade with their hated rivals in the Boston Red Sox.

The downside of this deal is that Soto is set to enter free agency at the end of the 2024 season. This means the Yankees currently only have him for one season.

This could of course change, if the Yankees sign him to a contract extension. But will they be able to?

Will the Yankees be able to extend Soto?

The Yankees have long been a powerhouse in terms of spending money. They also have a recent history of spending big on key free agents, as well as trading for big-name superstars. They acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in 2017 and also handed out large contracts to both Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon.

New York missed the postseason in 2023, falling short for the first time since 2016. But General Manager Brian Cashman proved that he wants to win in 2024 by adding Soto and Verdugo.

But given the Yankees history of spending money, one would assume that they would be able to spend it again on Soto to give the slugger a contract extension. They did the same with Stanton when they acquired him, though that move hasn't panned out as of now.

Still, Soto is young and is one of the best run producers in all of baseball, so it would be worthwhile for the Yankees to offer him an extension. Again, Cashman proved that he and the rest of the Yankees front office hope 2023 is just a fluke and not the start of a trend. New York rarely misses the postseason, and they do have the money to spend.

On the other hand, it's worth remembering that back in 2022, the Washington Nationals were trying to extend Soto before he was ultimately dealt to the Padres. They offered him 15 years and $400 million. Soto declined.

So while the Yankees have the financial resources to make it happen, it certainly won't be easy to do. Soto is going to cost a lot. We also must take into account that Scott Boras is Soto's agent, and Boras clients rarely sign extensions before hitting free agency.

But another thing to consider is that the Nationals were not a contender at the time. The difference now is that he is playing for a team that should be a contender in 2024 and beyond.

Soto may ultimately want to test free agency, but the Yankees have a good chance to show him their culture and prove to him that it's a place he'll want to stay.