Why is everyone freaking out about Brian Cashman’s Juan Soto comments?

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Newly imported superstar Juan Soto could be in pinstripes for either a good time or a long time. Or a bad time! Guess that's an option, too.

Regardless, when the Yankees traded for Soto and surrendered a good chunk (but not a debilitating chunk) of their top-tier pitching depth, they knew two things:

1. Soto yearned to be a Yankee, and they'd have a good chance of retaining his services if they were willing to pay up.

2. There was no chance Soto and Scott Boras would even consider an extension prior to free agency, and nothing they floated could possibly change that.

Soto and the Nationals divorced when he balked at their very generous, $400+ million offer to stay in Washington long-term because he desired to set the market someday for his peers (even though he's fairly peerless). Shohei Ohtani took a giant leap for ballplayer kind this year, but nobody is comparable to the man who could win the Cy Young award and MVP (for his offensive prowess) in one fell swoop. His $700 million deal packed with deferrals set the market for all future unicorns. Now, it's on Soto's shoulders to help set it for humans, after Mookie Betts accepted an extension in the wake of his world being rocked with the uncertainty of a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully!) pandemic. Don't blame him.

So. With that being said ... why was everyone on Yankees Twitter, MLB Twitter, and Boras Twitter going nuts laughing at/scorning Cashman for stating the obvious once again on Day 2 of spring training?

Yankees won't sign Juan Soto before free agency, everyone cries about it

A positively baffling series of replies, running the gamut from accusing Hal Steinbrenner of being too poor to extend Soto to a guffaw fest at Cashman's idiocy for "alienating" Soto ahead of this all-important season. Never mind that he "alienated" Aaron Judge, too, by leaking his contract negotiation terms (Judge returned). Never mind that what he said aligned with Soto's vision and didn't combat it.

There are 8,000 things you can get on Cashman's back for. Thursday, in a podcast appearance, he forgot Cody Poteet's name while trying to tout him as a rotation option. But not this. Soto will be a free agent. This is common knowledge. Did "one-year situation" trip everyone up? Because it's quite literally a one-year situation, for the time being.

(And oh, by the way? Trading for only one year of Soto isn't a "poverty move" if the Yankees happen to lose him next winter. It was still smart to trade from a position of strength to acquire literally Juan Soto.)

Cashman's quote didn't even really mark a sense of finality in the proceedings. Sure, Boras has only recently extended late-career "face of the franchise" types like Jose Altuve, and sure, when he let Xander Bogaerts take a below-market deal in Boston packed with opt-outs, both parties regretted it immediately and Bogaerts sought a monstrous overpay in his next deal. But maybe Soto and his agent completely abandon their principled stance one month into the season.

If not, though, the Yankees will learn more about whether or not Soto is as ideal a fit as he seems over the next few months, and will enter free agency with either a home-field advantage or some sort of earned reticence (which would be a bummer). In the meantime, Soto will be here making over his Instagram page in pinstripes, making his Yankee fan family members smile, and going out of his way to counsel the team's prospects at their Dominican Academy.

Yeah. He hates it here. He's already trying to leave. What a Cashman blunder.