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The New York Yankees are reportedly more concerned with the slugger on their current roster than one they may add via trade.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, an organization source said the front office is more focused on keeping Aaron Judge, who can become a free agent after the 2022 season, than trading for Washington Nationals star Juan Soto.
However, a rival executive pointed out, “Getting Soto would give them an excuse to move on from Judge—and they’d get the younger player, like the Braves getting [Matt Olson] after they couldn’t sign Freeman.”
That Soto is suddenly available as a potential trade piece comes as a surprise since he is under team control through the 2024 season, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last Saturday that he rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Nationals.
As a result, Washington is open to trade discussions since Soto may not re-sign at all if he isn’t going to take that deal.
The Yankees have been connected as a possible suitor, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, and the addition of Soto would make their lineup all the more imposing.
He is a generational talent who already has a batting title, two All-Star selections, two Silver Sluggers and a World Series title on his resume at 23 years old. He can be a franchise cornerstone for more than a decade for whichever team trades for him and will surely be on the radar of a number of clubs throughout the league.
Yet Judge is a four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger himself who is in the middle of the American League MVP race at 30 years old this season. He is slashing .284/.368/.635 with 36 home runs and 77 RBI for a Yankees team that is 12 games ahead in the American League East race at 65-30.
He has also told reporters he wants to stay in New York and is already the face of the franchise for the current iteration of the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees may be one of the few teams capable of realistically having Judge and Soto on the roster since they are third in the league in payroll this season and play in a major market, but the focus is apparently on the former for the time being.