MLB Rumors: 3 teams already licking their chops over Juan Soto’s free agency

The New York Yankees look like an offensive behemoth with Juan Soto in the lineup, but is it more than a temporary alignment?

Juan Soto, New York Yankees
Juan Soto, New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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The New York Yankees completed the most consequential trade of the offseason, acquiring Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres. At first blush, this is classic Yankees exceptionalism — one of the MLB's brightest young stars finding his way to the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, as if by divine intervention.

Below the surface, however, a great deal of uncertainty follows Soto to New York. First, he's on an expiring contract. He will be a free agent in 2025, free to bolt if he so desires. Second, his agent is Scott Boras. We can toss the idea of an extension out the window. Boras is going to take Soto into free agency and drive the price as high as possible.

Of course, it's the Yankees we are talking about. Price is generally not an issue if owner Hal Steinbrenner is motivated enough. Soto will enter free agency at 26 years old with at least three All-Star appearances under his belt. The Yankees won't get too stingy. That said, even if the Yankees pay up, there's always a chance another team catches Soto's eye. There are a lot of quality baseball clubs out there, and several can go blow-for-blow with New York in a bidding war.

These teams are undoubtedly monitoring Soto's upcoming availability.

3. Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays almost pulled off the Soto trade, but fell short. It has been Toronto's mission to add a powerful left-handed bat to the lineup this offseason. The front office has failed at pretty much every juncture, but no other team was so thoroughly involved in both the Soto sweepstakes and the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. Remember the plane! The Blue Jays are serious bidders.

GM Ross Atkins has the green light to spend big, which could put Soto back on the Blue Jays' radar in a year. Plus, what better way to catch up with the AL East competition? Toronto can cut a head off the hyrda and hope New York doesn't convince another expensive star to appear in the same place. Either way, Soto would end up in a Blue Jays uniform as the offensive anchor that team desperately needs alongside Bo Bichette and Vladdy Guerrero.

Cavan Biggio, Daulton Varsho, and Kevin Kiermaier are the only lefties currently in Toronto's projected starting lineup. Success depending so much upon the handedness of the opposing picture is a definite weakness for the Jays. Toronto finished last season with 89 wins, a burgeoning contender lost in the shuffle of a hectic postseason. But, until the Blue Jays can take that next step in the playoffs, there's not much to celebrate.

Toronto finished third in the division in 2023. The Yankees were fourth, seven games back with 82 wins. Soto probably adds seven wins this season, not to mention Marcus Stroman, Alex Verdugo, and the other noteworthy upgrades to the Yankees' roster. The Blue Jays face stiff competition. Landing Soto in a year can help them stay in the fray.