Rays’ Wander Franco Placed on Restricted List Amid MLB Probe into Social Media Posts

Rays’ Wander Franco Placed on Restricted List Amid MLB Probe into Social Media Posts
Doric SamAugust 14, 2023

Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco watches from the dugout during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

The Tampa Bay Rays placed shortstop Wander Franco on the restricted list Monday amid an MLB investigation into social media posts involving him from Sunday, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The team released a statement that said, “The Tampa Bay Rays and Wander Franco have mutually agreed that he will go on the Restricted List and take leave from the Club for the duration of the current road trip.”

According to TMZ, “social media posts emerged over the weekend that allegedly showed [Franco] in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.”

Franco did not play in Sunday’s 9-2 loss against the Cleveland Guardians, and Passan reported that he didn’t travel with the team to San Francisco for the Rays’ series against the Giants. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said that Franco’s absence from Sunday’s game was not related to the investigation.

“I’m aware of the speculation, and I’m not going to comment any further on that,” Cash said after Sunday’s loss. “The day off was because [it was] a day off.”

The Rays called up Osleivis Basabe to start at shortstop on Sunday against the Guardians. Per Passan, Basabe found out he’d be making his MLB debut on Saturday night during his game with Triple-A Durham.

Franco, who was selected to his first All-Star Game this season, is hitting .281/.344/.457 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI. The 22-year-old signed an 11-year, $182 million contract with the Rays in November 2021, and the deal could reach as high as $223 million if the team exercises its option in 2033.

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