Rays star shortstop Wander Franco accused of inappropriate relationship

Tampa Bay Rays baseball star Wander Franco is under investigation by the National Agency for Boys, Girls, Adolescents and Family and Gender Violence Unit, Listin Diario reports. Tampa Bay Rays took action following the allegation that Franco had an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Sex with minors is banned by law in the Dominican Republic.

The 22-year old shortstop Franco is married.

After the allegations first emerged in August 2023, the Rays placed Franco on a leave of absence and began removing images of him from their stadium, pulling ads that featured him in highlights, and Franco’s merchandise appears to have been removed from the team’s stores.

Not long after, the MLB put Franco on administrative leave for the final 42 games of last season.

In July 2023, Franco had made his first All-Star team. He last played for the Rays on 12 August 2023.

Under league and union rules, Franco has continued to receive his US$2 million salary and service time. Franco had just completed the second season of a franchise-record contract that guaranteed him US$182 million over 11 years and could be worth up to US$$223 million over 12. He is still due US$174 million of guaranteed money.

If Franco’s status is not resolved by the opening of spring training in mid-February, he could be shifted back to administrative leave.

After training with Rudy Santin in the Dominican Republic, Franco, ranked the No. 1 international prospect for 2017, signed with the Rays for US$3.82 million, the largest bonus in his signing class.

Franco family members criticized the action of the prosecutors. The family members say the prosecutors showed up for the search without a court order and thus this was not carried out, and became just a mediatic show. As reported in El Dia, the family spokesperson said that on 20 December, Franco’s lawyers had deposited a legal recourse requesting details on the accusation and that an appointment at the Prosecution Office with the presence of the baseball player had been set for Thursday, 28 December at 11am.

Read more:
Listin Diario
El Dia
Tampa Bay Rays
Sports Illustrated

28 December 2023