Major League Baseball (MLB) has launched an investigation into Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco following social media posts that have raised questions about his alleged relationship with a minor, according to sources familiar with the situation. As a result, the team has placed Franco on the restricted list and he did not accompany the Rays to San Francisco for their upcoming series.
The restricted list is a tool that teams can use to remove players from their rosters in various circumstances, including potential legal matters. While being on the restricted list means that teams are not obligated to pay players, sources have confirmed that the Rays will continue to pay Franco’s $2 million salary during this period.
In a statement addressing the situation, the Tampa Bay Rays announced that they have reached a mutual agreement with Franco for him to go on the Restricted List and take leave from the club for the duration of their current road trip.
MLB’s investigation is being carried out by its department of investigations and focuses on the social media posts relating to Franco’s alleged relationship with the individual in the Dominican Republic, where the young shortstop grew up. The league is committed to thoroughly examining the situation and gathering all relevant information.
Franco did not participate in Sunday’s game, with Rays manager Kevin Cash clarifying that it was a planned day off. However, moments into the game, Franco left the dugout during the fifth inning. Following the match, he did not engage with the media.
It is worth noting that back in November 2021, the Tampa Bay Rays and Wander Franco agreed to an impressive 11-year, $182 million contract extension. Since then, Franco has consistently showcased his talent and emerged as one of the most productive players in MLB. This season, he has a batting average of .281, an on-base percentage of .344, and a slugging percentage of .475. In addition to his contributions at the plate, Franco has hit 17 home runs, driven in 58 runs, stolen 30 bases, and secured his spot on the All-Star team.
The investigation into Wander Franco’s alleged relationship with a minor has put his career on hold temporarily, as MLB delves into the matter. The Rays have taken proactive steps by placing him on the restricted list and ensuring that he continues to receive his salary. As the league’s department of investigations conducts its inquiry, a sense of uncertainty looms over Franco’s future. Meanwhile, his recent performances and notable achievements are a testament to his on-field talent and potential. As more details emerge, the baseball world awaits the conclusion of MLB’s investigation and its impact on Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays organization.