June 18, 2024

The New York Yankees are clear about their intention to keep outfielder Juan Soto beyond the 2024 season. That may be complicated by one goal set by owner Hal Steinbrenner on Wednesday.

Steinbrenner stated that the Yankees’ present salary is unsustainable, and he strongly implied that the franchise intends to avoid the luxury tax level 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 remarked, according to 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.”

Steinbrenner did, however, hint that the Yankees could be able to keep Soto due to expiring contracts that will go off the books after the 2024 season. While he did not identify names, he could be referring to Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo, who are making little less than $23 million combined this season. Soto is earning $31 million this season.

 

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The Yankees’ payroll for 2024 exceeded $296 million. They have pledged approximately $185 million for 2025, with the luxury tax threshold set at $241 million. That leaves the team with approximately $56 million to spend if they are serious about remaining under that barrier.

If Steinbrenner is serious about both aims, the Yankees will face some hurdles. According to reports, Soto will be looking for a big payoff, forcing the Yankees to spend the majority of their free money on his annual contract. They may theoretically do so, but they would lose several players in the process, perhaps weakening them in other positions and leaving them with little room to improve.

Steinbrenner and Soto recently expressed their optimism about a potential long-term partnership. This may cast question on the long-term viability of the connection.

 

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