The New York Yankees are going to have to clear the financial deck in order to extend Juan Soto next offseason, but that type of grand gesture might be exactly what he's always yearned for. All it takes is a cursory look at Soto's career to realize he's always wanted to end up in pinstripes.
Soto debuted in 2018, a Dominican-born teenager poised for surprise superstardom. His minor-league pedigree wasn't that of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Jasson Dominguez. He wasn't a known phenom from the time he put pen to paper. He was the No. 22 prospect in his class, per MLB Pipeline. He simply rose, and rose quickly.
Upon his first trip to Yankee Stadium as a vistor back in 2018, his father and two uncles marked the occasion with a voyage to the mecca in the Bronx. One of his uncles brought a sign, making his affiliation abundantly clear: Soto, sure, sure, but the Yankees first and foremost.
Now, luckily, he'll no longer have to choose.
Yankees trade addition Juan Soto has always wanted to be in pinstripes
Soto drilled a wild opposite field home run off Sonny Gray in that series that will hopefully portend what's to come. He mishit a fastball, slicing it high into left field without an apparent dose of exit velocity until ... it escaped the yard. The short porch might not be Soto's friend, but his ability to spray the ball (and his absurd strength) should serve him (and his family) well.
Soto's uncles being old Yankee fans crafts a nice narrative, sure, but it's even more reassuring to hear such talk from the man himself. In a 2019 interview, Soto made it clear that, deep down, he believes every MLB player wants to join the Yankees at some point in their careers.
In case it wasn't already obvious from his 2019 postseason run against Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, this shufflin' man desires the smoke.
Could Steve Cohen's Mets swoop in and sign him after he's incubated for a year at Yankee Stadium? Sure. Could things go sour in the locker room? You don't know until the season plays out.
But even though Soto is unlikely to give the Yankees a discount or an early signing period, it's abundantly clear where he's always wanted to be.