Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto has been exactly as advertised and New York Yankees fans couldn’t be happier about it. If current trends hold and he signs a megadeal to stay in pinstripes, the collective faint may cause another earthquake.

If you were to ask this writer, it’s not a matter of if Soto re-signs with the Yankees, but when. And yes, I know full well I may have just jinxed it.

Let’s start with the simple stats, something Sal Licata is all too happy to ignore. Soto is batting .319 with five home runs and 20 RBI and a 187 wRC+. He leads the American League in on-base percentage (OBP) and has been a solid glove in right field too. Soto already has four outfield assists and a +2 defensive runs saved (DRS).

Soto has pushed all the right buttons away from Yankee Stadium too. He and a handful of Yankees teammates attended Game 1 of the New York Knicks-Philadelphia 76ers playoff series last weekend:

And as if one trip to Madison Square Garden wasn’t enough, it appears Soto has also adopted the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts won the President’s Trophy as the best overall team in the National Hockey League and own a 2-0 lead over the Washington Capitals in their playoff series.

Add that it feels as though Juan Soto has been a Yankee since Day 1, and it only makes sense for him to stay. He was “one of the guys” immediately. The Yankees haven’t had this kind of fire and life in them since the 2019 “Savages in the Box” season, juiced balls or no.

And if you think about it, Juan Soto really is the first “superstar” to come to the Yankees and not immediately enmesh himself in controversy. Think of all the big names that have come to New York in the Steinbrenner Era. More often than not, they found themselves in the news for non-baseball reason.

Reggie Jackson immediately caused tension with captain Thurman Munson from his infamous “I’m the straw that stirs the drink” comment. Dave Winfield signed a record 10-year deal in 1981 and was known more for feuding with ownership than he was being a monster on the diamond. Where do we even start with Alex Rodriguez?

Not Juan Soto, even if his arrival meant bumping Aaron Judge’s strong arm to center field. This is a non-issue even if he stays with the Yankees. Judge has played center plenty and should head back over to right once Jasson Dominguez is back from Tommy John surgery. In turn, Alex Verdugo’s expiring deal lets Soto move back over to left.

Clearly, general manager Brian Cashman realizes this and hopes owner Hal Steinbrenner does too. Per Jon Heyman at the Post, the Yankees will make Soto their “top priority” this offseason amid an expected bidding war with the crosstown rival Mets. If the Yankees can make the math work, then the Yankees need to make the full-court press.

Juan Soto, like his teammate Judge, is a once-in-a-generation talent. He is Zava. You don’t trade as much as the Yankees did for him just to make him a one-year rental and say “Thanks for the memories,” win or lose.

Everyone knows what has to be done. Moreover, everyone knows the Yankees have the means to do it, even if it takes a little bit of advanced payroll calculus. It’s only April 24 but make no mistake. Major League Baseball’s clock is always ticking, running. And when it comes to Juan Soto, every team is watching him closely.

Mr. Cashman, do not waste your time.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.