MLB: Rays SS Wander Franco placed on administrative leave again

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The Tampa Bay Rays took shortstop Wander Franco off the 40-man roster and placed him on paid administrative leave Thursday as the investigation continues into allegations he had a relationship with a teenage girl.

The procedural move was made by agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, and his placement on the list runs through June 1.

Franco, 23, ended the 2023 season on administrative leave, placed there Aug. 22 as MLB launched an investigation into social media posts emerged that alleged he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor in his native Dominican Republic.

The 2023 All-Star has been accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering. He’s alleged to have given a 14-year-old girl’s mother thousands of dollars plus a car to secure her consent to his relationship with her daughter.

Franco was moved back to Tampa Bay’s active roster after the season ended, but only because 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 him to earn $2 million this season, with the annual cash eventually reaching $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 and 130 RBIs in 265 games with the Rays.

–Field Level Media

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