June 24, 2024

Yankees owner issues warning that could impact Juan Soto contract talks

The New York Yankees are keen to keep outfielder Juan Soto beyond the 2024 season, but this may be complicated by a recent statement from owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner indicated that the team’s current payroll is not sustainable and emphasized the need to avoid the luxury tax threshold in the future.

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” Steinbrenner told Dan Martin of the New York Post. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

However, Steinbrenner mentioned that the Yankees might retain Soto due to contracts expiring after the 2024 season. While he didn’t specify, this likely refers to players like Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo, who together earn nearly $23 million. Soto’s salary for this season is $31 million.

The Yankees started 2024 with a payroll exceeding $296 million and have about $185 million committed for 2025, with the luxury tax threshold set at $241 million. This leaves roughly $56 million for spending if they aim to stay under the threshold.

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If Steinbrenner is committed to both retaining Soto and managing the payroll, the Yankees face significant challenges. Reports suggest Soto will seek a substantial contract, which would consume most of the available budget, potentially forcing the Yankees to lose other key players and limiting their flexibility to make further upgrades.

Although Steinbrenner and Soto have recently expressed optimism about a long-term relationship, this new financial caution raises doubts about its feasibility.

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