Athletic MLB writer speculates Mets 'saving spot' for Yankees' Juan Soto

Mets didn't hear no bell.
San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

Perhaps WFAN's rampant speculation about current Yankees outfielder Juan Soto wasn't so off base after all?

Well, partially. The abject nonsense about him not wanting to be a Yankee was extremely incorrect. His family is full of Yankee fans. He leapt at the chance to switch his social media footprint to pinstripes immediately after the trade was finalized. He's excited to be here, fulfilling a long-time destiny. But will he be here longer than one year? The jury's still out, and a neighbor might have a little something to say about it.

After the ice broke on the Mets and Yankees' free agency detente this winter -- they both battled for Yoshinobu Yamamoto and both came up short -- Flushing's NL club could interfere in the Soto chase next year after staying out of the Aaron Judge conversation (for reasons unknown).

In an appearance on Foul Territory on Monday, The Athletic's Eno Sarris hinted that the Mets' pick-and-choose offseason hasn't just been a result of them swallowing Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander's contracts, then taking their foot off the gas pedal (as Scherzer hinted they would last summer). Sarris believes the team has a plan, and will turn on the money spigot next winter with an eye on Soto.

The Athletic's Eno Sarris: Mets saving spot for Yankees' Juan Soto in 2025?

With Judge eventually having to transition out of right field as he ages, and Giancarlo Stanton looming on the payroll, Soto would be an imperfect long-term fit for the Yankees ... if he weren't literally future Hall of Famer Juan Soto. After acquiring him for a showcase year, he simply has to be in the Yankees' permanent payroll plans, given his obscene talent from the left side of the plate. He's one of the very few singular forces who can turn the Yankees' recent lefty deficiencies into a strength. He must be retained, even if the result is a swallowed Stanton salary.

But the Mets didn't hear no bell.

Steve Cohen can outbid any interested party, but has yet to blow the top off anyone's market with an unreasonable offer. Instead, he's mostly stuck to joining the top of the market on long-term deals and letting the chips fall where they may. In this instance, it doesn't seem like dueling $500 million offers would be enough to sway Soto away from the Bronx. But if the Yankees stick at $500 million while the Mets throw $650 million out, that would probably get the job done.

And if the Yankees fail to surpass $450 million or -- gulp -- Aaron Judge's contract at $360 million, in the style of formulating their Yamamoto offer around Gerrit Cole's deal, the Bronx Bombers could be preseason toast.