Yankees announcer addresses uncertain future of Juan Soto

yankees announcer addresses uncertain future of juan soto

New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto.

New York Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay recently spoke with Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media about the future of All-Star outfielder Juan Soto after Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last week that the club's payroll is "not sustainable" due to luxury-tax penalties.

"You have to take Hal at his word," Kay explained. "He’s not bluffing when he says $300M is an unsustainable payroll."

Soto remains on track to reach free agency after the ongoing season and suggested ahead of this past weekend that he is "open to deal with anybody." Agent Scott Boras later seemed to scoff at Steinbrenner's comment about payroll during a conversation with Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

"People don’t seem to realize, it’s not just Hal Steinbrenner’s money," Kay noted. "I’m not being a fan-boy in explaining there are other partners involved in the Yankees' ownership. Their last names aren’t Steinbrenner. Hal has to answer to those people, and those people are entitled to make a profit. And those other voices are asking, 'Do we really have to pay this much money to win a championship?'"

Steinbrenner's admission ahead of Memorial Day caused numerous noteworthy members of the baseball community to predict that the Yankees won't sign Soto to a record-setting deal less than two years after Steinbrenner inked captain Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360M contract.

Kay poured cold water over any idea that Judge would have a problem with Soto being the club's highest-paid star as soon as next spring.

"Judge is a different type of leader," Kay said. "It seems like he’s devoid of ego. I know that’s not realistic because no one is devoid of ego. But for a star of his magnitude, he’s just so chill. He never makes it about him. ...Judge got his bag (of money). If someone now gets a bigger bag, Judge will be fine with it, because he wants to win."

Kay hinted that Steinbrenner could lose a bidding war for Soto's services to none other than New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. Cohen may pass on signing All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso to an extension so that the Mets can instead pursue Soto in free agency.

"I think he’s going to make a really great offer to Soto," Kay said about Steinbrenner. "He legitimately wants to keep him. But if Soto is of the mindset that he’s going where the last dollar leads him, then it’s going to get really interesting."

Kay added that he doesn't "think anyone in any sport gets a blank check." Cohen may have something to say about that if Soto reaches the open market this fall.

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