The Tampa Bay Rays confirmed on Sunday that Major League Baseball is investigating Wander Franco after social media posts went viral.
Wander Franco : Social media | What did do | Allegations
Franco was ranked as one of the top international prospects in the 2017 international class. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization on July 2, 2017.
Franco made his professional debut in 2018 with the Princeton Rays. On July 14, 2018, Franco hit for the cycle while playing for Princeton.
In 2018, at only 17 years old, Franco was named the 2018 Appalachian League Player of the Year after hitting .374/.445/.636 with 11 home runs and 57 runs batted in (RBIs) over 245 plate appearances for the Princeton Rays.
Prior to the 2019 season, Franco was ranked as the fourth best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He began the season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Wander Franco Social media
The Tampa Bay Rays confirmed Sunday that Major League Baseball is investigating social media posts that accuse Rays shortstop Wander Franco of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl.
Franco, 22, did not play in Tampa Bay’s 9-2 home loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday afternoon.
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the team said in a statement two hours after the game. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.
The Spanish-language social media posts were made Saturday night and went viral Sunday. Franco was given Sunday’s game off despite a scheduled Wander Franco hat giveaway for fans aged 14 and under.
According to reports, Franco began the game in the dugout but left during the fifth inning.
Rays manager Kevin Cash later told reporters that Franco was given a “day off,” but acknowledged that he knew about the discussion brewing on social media.
“I am aware of this speculation,” Cash said. “I’m not going to comment any further on that. But the day off was because (of) the day off.
The Rays handed Franco a $182 million, 11-year contract in November 2021, with a team option for 2033 that could make the deal worth up to $223 million.
What did Wander Franco do
Posts to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, allege that Franco, 22, has been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco,” the Rays said in a statement. “We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
Franco was not in the lineup and left the dugout midway during the game despite the team’s Wander Franco Snapback Hat giveaway for youths 14 years old and younger, the Times reported.
The Rays called up prospect Osleivis Basabe from Triple-A Durham to start in his place, according to the newspaper.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, who said the decision to bench Franco was to “get him off his feet,” according to the Times.
Cash added that he was aware of the social media posts.
“I am aware of this speculation,” Cash said, according to the newspaper. “I’m not going to comment any further on that. But the day off was because (of) the day off.”
In essence, it has been alleged, whether falsely or accurately, that the shortstop has been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.
Cash confirmed that he was aware of the situation but stated that his decision was not based on it. Obviously, he can’t say otherwise at the moment, which is understandable.
The Rays have stated that they are in contact with Major League Baseball to shed light on what has transpired. They also emphasize that they are taking the matter very seriously.
Replacing Franco in the lineup was one of the club’s top prospects, Osleivis Basabe. Wander Franco is 22 years old.
The player, who recently signed an $182 million contract for 11 years, could indeed be in trouble if the situation is confirmed. After all, we’re potentially talking about pedophilia.
Could this lead to the end of his career? Possibly, yes.
I imagine that, given the circumstances, Major League Baseball will conduct a swift investigation. After all, if the rumors are true, he should not be playing. And if they are not true, he should not be sidelined.
However, whether it is confirmed or not (it is not for me to judge), there will always be doubts in people’s minds.
In other news, Kevin Kiermaier is making progress with his recovery from an elbow injury and is on track to be activated soon.
There are also rumors that Michael Brantley could be returning to the field in the near future.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres are continuing to struggle and suffer losses, with Manny Machado referring to a recent game as a “do-or-die” situation. Unfortunately, the Padres lost 5-4 to the Diamondbacks and are now 5.5 games out of the final wild-card berth.