The Tampa Bay Rays have taken the decision to place their star shortstop, Wander Franco, on the restricted list while Major League Baseball (MLB) investigates social media posts involving the young player. The Rays made the announcement on Monday, expressing their support for MLB’s efforts to understand the situation fully. As the investigation unfolds, the Rays have chosen to refrain from making further comments at this time.
Rays’ Response to the Social Media Posts
Upon becoming aware of the circulating social media posts related to Wander Franco during a game, the Tampa Bay Rays released a statement acknowledging the seriousness of the situation and their close cooperation with MLB’s ongoing due diligence. The nature of the posts has not been disclosed by the team.
Franco’s Absence and Replacement
As a result of the investigation, Wander Franco did not participate in the Rays’ recent game against the Cleveland Guardians, where Osleivis Basabe made his major league debut as the starting shortstop. Basabe, who had been playing for Triple-A Durham, received the news of his promotion during a game on Saturday night.
During Sunday’s game, Wander Franco was present in the Rays’ dugout but left in the fifth inning. When Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked about Franco’s absence from the game, he attributed it to a regular day off and did not comment further on the matter.
Travel Plans and MLB’s Involvement
In a surprising development, sources have revealed that Wander Franco did not travel with the Rays for their upcoming series against the San Francisco Giants. This decision comes amidst MLB’s investigation into the social media posts involving Franco. The league’s involvement suggests that the situation is being taken seriously, and appropriate action may be taken depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Exploring the Restricted List and Administrative Leave
As MLB conducts its investigation, Wander Franco’s status may be affected. Players can be placed on the restricted list or administrative leave during such circumstances. The restricted list typically involves removing a player from the roster without pay, while administrative leave allows the player to be taken off the roster while still receiving compensation. The decision to place a player on administrative leave requires agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association.
Franco’s Contract and Performance
Tampa Bay made a significant investment in Wander Franco, signing him to an 11-year, $182 million contract in November 2021. With the inclusion of a team option for 2033, the total value of the contract could reach $223 million. Franco has proven his worth as an All-Star this season, hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 112 games. Additionally, he has displayed his base-stealing prowess, successfully stealing 30 bases in 40 attempts.
Previous Benching and On-Field Frustrations
Earlier in the season, the Tampa Bay Rays benched Wander Franco for two games due to concerns about his conduct and how he handled frustrating situations on the field. Rays manager Kevin Cash acknowledged that Franco needed to improve his behavior as a teammate during those instances. This previous disciplinary action sheds light on the team’s commitment to maintaining a positive and cohesive environment.
The Rays’ Upcoming Series against the Giants
The Tampa Bay Rays are set to begin a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. However, with Wander Franco’s absence from the team’s travel plans, the Rays may have to rely on their depth to fill the void left by their star shortstop. The outcome of the ongoing investigation will likely influence the Rays’ decision-making and roster composition during the series.
The MLB’s investigation into social media posts involving Wander Franco has prompted the Tampa Bay Rays to place him on the restricted list. As the league conducts its due diligence, the Rays have shown their support and refrained from commenting further on the matter. Franco’s absence from recent games and the team’s upcoming series against the San Francisco Giants, along with his previous benching, highlight the significance of the situation. The outcome of the investigation will undoubtedly impact Franco’s future involvement with the team and the Rays’ overall performance.
*Disclaimer: The information in this article is based on reports from various sources and is subject to change as the investigation unfolds.