TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Juan Soto #22 of the New York Yankees looks on during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 19, 2024 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

Mets Are Favorites to Land $500 Million Superstar Free Agent

Outfielder Juan Soto is only just beginning his tenure with the New York Yankees. However, there will be a constant focus on him regarding his intentions next winter as baseball's top free agent. One can imagine the New York Mets will be closely tied to the left-handed slugger, as well.

In his weekend notebook for USA Today, Bob Nightengale shared some thoughts on Soto's eventual free agency. "The Mets are not only expected to strongly pursue, but could be among the favorites for outfielder Juan Soto when he's a free agent next winter," he said.

This shouldn't be surprising based on what Soto is expected to command on the open market. Before the Washington Nationals traded him at the 2022 MLB trade deadline, the outfielder and agent Scott Boras rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension offer. Shohei Ohtani just landed a 10-year, $700 million guarantee from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Soto's camp most certainly has its sights set on being baseball's next $500 million player.

The Mets fit for obvious reasons. They're one of the few big market teams that can afford a player like Soto. They also have Steve Cohen, who is MLB's richest owner. He's shown a propensity for shelling out a lot of money in hopes of putting a winning team on the field.

While president of baseball operations David Stearns took a more disciplined approach this winter in building the Mets' 2024 roster, there could be some underlying reasons for that. The Athletic's Eno Saris thinks New York not paying top dollar for this offseason's free agents is because they want to be an available landing spot for Soto. Plus, the outfielder has dropped hints in the past that he might be open to calling Queens home.

Their pursuit won't come without competition. SNY's Andy Martino reported on February 18 that it's not too early to start expecting the Mets and Yankees to go toe-to-toe for Soto. The 25-year-old's impending free agency will be fascinating to follow, especially if both New York teams get into a bidding war for his services.

MORE: MLB Insider Weighs in on Yankees' Chances of Signing Juan Soto to Extension