Reports: Yankees OF Juan Soto gets record $31M to avoid arbitration

The New York Yankees and their new star outfielder, Juan Soto, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $31 million, multiple reports said Thursday.

That breaks the record for an arbitration-eligible player set last year by Shohei Ohtani, then with the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani got $30 million.

The Yankees acquired Soto and fellow outfielder Trent Grisham from the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Kyle Higashioka and pitchers Michael King, Jhony Brito, Drew Thorpe and Randy Vasquez.

The next trick for New York will be to sign Soto to a long-term contract past 2024. General manager Brian Cashman indicated the team wants Soto to sign long-term, while Soto said he is focused on playing ball in 2024.

In his only full season in San Diego, Soto earned $23 million and played in all 162 games and tallied 35 home runs, 32 doubles, 97 runs and an MLB-high 132 walks on a .275 batting average.

Soto, 25, is a three-time All-Star and was runner-up for the National League MVP in 2021 while with Washington. He has 160 homers, 483 RBIs, 640 walks and a .284 average in seasons with the Nationals (2018-22) and Padres (2022-23).