Hal Steinbrenner talks possibility of Juan Soto Yankees extension

After just a few months together, the Yankees appear ready and willing to make a long-term commitment to Juan Soto.

Speaking on a YES Network podcast, owner Hal Steinbrenner said he’d like to see the 25-year-old slugger stay in pinstripes “for the rest of his career.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Steinbrenner said. “His agent, Scott (Boras), doesn’t tend to make deals mid-season. Me neither. I think it can be a distraction. But like I said in spring training when I met with (the media), this is a very unique situation and a very unique player. So I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a conversation or two during the season.

“I think it’s worth doing at some point. I wanted to give Juan time to really settle in, have a conversation with him at some point and make sure the most important thing is obviously: is this a place where he can see himself for a long time ?

Soto is making $31 million this season, his final year before hitting free agency. The Yankees traded five players to the Padres for Soto in December, giving them a chance to see how the three-time All-Star fits into the clubhouse and handles the pressure of playing in New York.

After Thursday’s win over the Twins, Soto told reporters that “his door has always been open” when it came to signing an extension before hitting free agency.

“They know the phone number and everything,” Soto said. “They know where to call. For me here, my focus is baseball. My thing is to try to help the team win.

Although Boras has typically taken his players into free agency when they are this close, a source said discussions between the Yankees and Boras would likely take place at some point. Soto has emphasized his desire to win, and given the Yankees’ early season success in his first year with the club, the fit appears to be good for both teams.

Steinbrenner said a conversation with Boras is “something that could very well happen,” noting his close relationship with the agent.

“Whether he picks up the phone and calls me or vice versa, that’s something that’s happened many times in the past and it could definitely happen again,” Steinbrenner said. “But again, I just wanted to, like you say, focus on 2024. More importantly, winning a championship this year.”

Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from the Nationals in 2022, ultimately leading Washington to trade him to the Padres at the 2022 trade deadline. After a season and a half in San Diego, Soto was dealt to the Yankees in December. Many expect him to land a contract worth at least $500 million this offseason, but if Steinbrenner has his way, Soto may not have to wait until he becomes a free agent.

“We all know it’s generational, right? » said Steinbrenner. “He’s the complete package. I had no doubt he would perform here under pressure; no doubt about that. I was curious to see how he would interact with the fans, how he would interact with the media and of course how he would interact with the rest of the players, and it’s been great, great and great on all three of those things. …We also saw his lively side. He’s fun to watch.

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