Juan Soto’s absence proving to Yankees how much he’s worth

Yankees Juan Soto
Juan Soto
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Juan Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, is likely breaking out the calculator to add a bit more to his client’s prospective contract to come this winter. 

In his first season with the New York Yankees, the 25-year-old superstar has lived up to his billing. He was batting .318 with a 1.027 OPS, 17 home runs, and 53 RBI in 64 games before left elbow inflammation sidelined him for the start of the Yankees’ blockbuster series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

The Yankees are taking their time in bringing him back — manager Aaron Boone said he would swing in the cage on Sunday — which is an understandable approach. They have the best record in the American League and have no reason to increase the chances of him aggravating the issue by rushing him back.

But his absence has been more than noticeable. New York was limited to just four runs in their first two games (both losses) of the series against the Dodgers while leaving 19 men on base. It looked a lot like the Yankees offense that sputtered for most of last season once Aaron Judge suffered that toe injury in June against these very same Dodgers.

Soto was brought in to shock the system, which he very much has. Only six teams in MLB have averaged more than New York’s 4.2 runs per game. Its 95 home runs rank second and its OPS is the best in baseball. 

Juan Soto Yankees
(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Pairing Soto with Judge is exactly what the Yankees’ offense needed and it already is a partnership that the organization has to do everything it can to keep intact. The problem is that Soto’s red-hot start in the Bronx continues to drive his price up, which will not make owner Hal Steinbrenner’s life easy this winter.

Steinbrenner already admitted last month that his team’s current payroll situation is “not sustainable,” and for a player who could get as much as $500 million on his next contract, Soto’s future in the Bronx is remarkably murky. 

The last two games, however, are all the indications that Steinbrenner needs to figure out a way to keep Soto in Pinstripes for the long haul because it has already been proven that Judge cannot carry this franchise alone.

For more on Juan Soto and the Yankees, visit AMNY.com