Juan Soto makes powerful extension case vs Mariners after Hal Steinbrenner comments

Raise that budget, Hal!
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees / Luke Hales/GettyImages

In an unofficial must win for the Yankees (relax, but...you know it's sort of true), Juan Soto drilled not one, but two opposite field home runs, soaking in the adoration of the fans in the outfield throughout the seventh as the Yanks nursed a 5-0 lead. For what feels like the 15th home game already this season, Soto led the way efficiently, then embraced becoming part of the fabric of New York City, subtly saying with every step that he never wants to leave here.

There are a few men who can make that a reality. Before this particular 7-3 Yankees win over the Mariners, one of those men noted that he has plenty of budget room for Soto after the season, but can't keep running out crazy payrolls like the one he's got this year. "Not sustainable," Hal Steinbrenner said, apparently unaware he owns the New York Yankees and not a Sonic franchise in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Steinbrenner stated last week that he'd like to get the extension ball rolling, and Scott Boras responded by accepting his invitation to chat. Unlikely to actually result in a finalized agreement, sure, but that was a positive step.

Wednesday, on the other hand, would qualify as a negative one; Steinbrenner maintained enthusiasm for Soto, but less glee for surrounding him with high-priced talent during his theoretical competitive window in New York. Luckily, just as fans were beginning to feel bubbling anger at their budget-balancer, Soto turned the day around yet again, proving his importance to the infrastructure not once, but twice.

Yankees slugger Juan Soto reminder Hal Steinbrenner what life is like with him on board vs. Mariners

Soto's first home run gave the Yankees some breathing room.

His second? It felt like it was intended as an exclamation point, and a reminder that no matter how many contracts fall off the books this winter, Soto can't be one of them.

Notably, the Yankees, uh, needed both; a rare Luke Weaver blip resulted in a Cal Raleigh three-run home run after -- say it with me now! -- Michael Tonkin walked two in garbage time.

It wasn't the first time these 2024 Yankees have needed Soto, though, and it won't be his final rescue.

Hopefully, he uses some of that good will to rescue Hal from his own temptation to raise budget-related rabble for no apparent reason.