MLB Is Investigating All-Star Wander Franco’s Alleged Relationship with a Minor

The 22-year-old franchise cornerstone is not traveling with Tampa Bay on their current road trip

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wander Franco may not be with the Rays for awhile.
Adam Hunger/Getty

After social media posts alleging that All-Star shortstop Wander Franco is having a relationship with an underage girl went viral on Sunday, the Rays pulled the 22-year-old out of the lineup prior to Tampa’s 9-2 loss to Cleveland. Franco started Sunday’s game in the Rays’ dugout, then left it in the fifth inning. When the Rays departed to fly to San Francisco for a series with the Giants following the loss, Franco was not on the team plane.

“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.”

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After yanking Franco from the lineup before Sunday’s game, Tampa manager Kevin Cash claimed it was a planned rest day for his star player. “I’m aware of the speculation, and I’m not going to comment any further on that,” Cash told reporters after the game. “The day off was because [it was] a day off.” 

The timing of the allegations surfacing online was especially awkward thanks to a promotion the Rays were holding on Sunday.

In an Instagram Live post on Monday, Franco denied the allegations.

Batting .281 with 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen bases this season, Franco signed an 11-year contract with Tampa Bay in November 2021 worth $182 million with a team option for 2033 that could make the deal worth $223 million.

If Franco is out of the lineup for Tampa Bay for an extended period of time, which he likely will be if the allegations about his relationship have any merit, the Rays are going to be in trouble. One of MLB’s hottest teams to start the season, the Rays have scuffled of late and currently sit in second place in the AL East at 71-49.

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