MLB: MLB extends leave for Rays SS Wander Franco

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Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to extend Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco’s administrative leave until the All-Star break, multiple outlets reported on Friday.

Franco was removed from the 40-man roster and placed on paid administrative leave during the ongoing investigation into allegations that he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic and paid the teenager’s mother for consent.

Franco has not been charged with a crime but the investigation remains active.

The 2023 All-Star has been accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering. He’s alleged to have given a woman thousands of dollars plus a car to secure her consent to his relationship with her daughter.

At the start of the 2024 season, MLB and the MLBPA agreed to the procedural roster move through June 1, with Franco removed from the roster but continuing to be paid his $2 million salary.

Franco, 23, ended last season on administrative leave. He was placed on leave Aug. 22 as MLB launched an investigation into social media posts that alleged he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor in his native Dominican Republic.

Franco was moved back to Tampa Bay’s active roster after last season; administrative leave is unavailable during the offseason.

The Rays signed the promising youngster to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension on Nov. 23, 2021, following his rookie season. It was the largest contract ever given to a player with less than one year of service at the time of signing, according to Spotrac.

The contract calls for annual salary to eventually reach $25 million in 2028 and running through the end of the deal.

Franco has a career batting average of .282 with 292 hits, 30 home runs, 130 RBIs and 40 stolen bases in 265 games with the Rays.

–Field Level Media

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