The New York Yankees went all in last week, trading two years of Michael King and several pitching prospects for Juan Soto's 2024 season. Soto is a generational talent and future Hall of Famer who solves the Yankees' most glaring weakness in spectacular fashion. He comes from a family of Yankee fans, and once said that every player dreams of being able to strut their stuff in the Bronx, even if they're not willing to readily admit it.
When asked about his willingness to sign an extension at his introductory (yes, Zoom) press conference on Tuesday, he directed the media to his agent Scott Boras, though he slipped in subtly that he was hoping to win "championships" (plural) with his new teammates. Boras clients don't sign extensions. Soto will be no different; he'll require a $500 million commitment next winter, and if things go well in 2024, odds are the Yankees will be prepared to deliver it to him.
But don't tell that to a Mets fan with a microphone. WFAN's Sal Licata, famous for declaring the NL East over almost at the exact pivot point when the 2022 Mets' choke began, read absolutely none of Soto's backstory. He listened to none of the nuggets. He simply heard the extension answer and started penciling him into the Mets' lineup for 2024.
In terms of "embarrassing coping," it's hard to beat, "Sure, he's on your team, but he's basically already on my team in my head! So ... there's that!"
Mets fan thinks Juan Soto won't be staying with Yankees based on press conference where he didn't say that
"I actually had fun getting kicked in the crotch! I'm actually laughing about it! What the bullies don't know is that I'm the actual bully."
When Licata stops having visions, he might just settle down and realize that most of Steve Cohen's spending sprees thus far have resulted in the status quo being maintained. He "broke the bank" on a three-year commitment to Max Scherzer, then used his final year-and-a-half to pay for prospects. He stayed out of Jacob deGrom's market and pursued Justin Verlander in the shorter team. He weaseled out on Carlos Correa, who looks plenty healthy to the rest of us. He paid for Brandon Nimmo, Jose Quintana and his cohorts, assembling the most expensive team that ever busted apart at the seams by June in 2023.
And, the one thing Cohen can never buy: a Mets legacy. They will never be the Dodgers. They will never be the Yankees. They will always be the team steeped in failure that is willing to pay top dollar, all of a sudden, to see if they can chart a course for a path that looks different in 30 years. Some players might be interested in that. Others won't be. Pete Alonso still has yet to be taken care of, and seems destined to bolt for greener pastures, something Licata and the like assured us would never happen again once Cohen took the reins.
Soto absolutely could choose the Mets next winter. Brian Cashman seems very interested in committing $300 million to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which might mean he's made his preference clear. But if the best thing your fan base has going for them is that your rival's splash might be your splash next year if you just believe, that's a pretty sad -- and proof-free -- state of affairs.