Juan Soto talks extension negotiations with Yankees: 'They know ... who to talk to'

Shohei Ohtani's record-setting contract with the Dodgers only raises Soto's value

Juan Soto made his public debut as a New York Yankee on Tuesday and addressed the hottest topic at hand.

Will he or won't he sign an extension with the Yankees after joining the team last week via trade from the San Diego Padres? He didn't have an answer, of course. He instead put the ball in the Yankees' court when asked if he's open to discussing an extension with his new team.

"On any contract stuff, they know where to call and who to talk to," Soto said. "I'm here just to play baseball."

"Where to call and who to talk to" presumably refers to his agent, Scott Boras, who was on the video call but didn't address the subject. Nobody was there Tuesday to open contract negotiations in public.

Soto, meanwhile, reiterated that his priority is all things baseball, including getting to know his new team.

"My priority right now is just to get to know the team and get to know the guys, really," Soto said. "Going to the team to New York to Tampa, wherever I'm gonna meet those guys and try to get a good relationship, try to really stick together, get to know those guys and push and try to get the same goal."

Is Juan Soto one-and-done in New York or will he sign an extension? (Tommy Gilligan/Reuters)
Is Juan Soto one-and-done in New York, or will he sign an extension? (Tommy Gilligan/Reuters)

How much will Juan Soto command in the wake of Shohei Ohtani's deal?

Any answer on a contract extension isn't likely to arrive soon. Soto is not even acclimated to his new surroundings. But the floor on an extension is set, and Soto is going to demand a lucrative, long-term deal whenever he eventually signs.

Soto is reportedly expected to command $33 million for the 2024 season in his final year of arbitration eligibility. After that, he'll hit the market as an unrestricted free agent if he doesn't sign a long-term extension with New York.

He has turned down eye-popping money. Before being traded to the Padres, Soto reportedly rejected a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals in 2021. Those failed talks facilitated his trade to San Diego and ultimately led to his landing in New York. At this point, don't expect Soto to entertain anything that doesn't exceed that number.

The market has only gone up since then. See Shohei Ohtani's 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thanks to that deal's unprecedented deferrals, it's not really worth $700 million, as Ohtani won't see $680 million of his salary until after the conclusion of the contract in 2034, and the payments will reportedly be made without interest. Still, it's a remarkable sum of money and good news for Soto in his negotiations.

Soto is not going to command the same sum as Ohtani. But somewhere between the rejected Nationals offer and Ohtani's deal is a good place to start. If Soto and Boras don't like what the Yankees have to offer, surely they'll be more than happy to test the open market.