Wander Franco

Rays Wander Franco Placed on Leave by MLB

22 August, 2023

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The All-Star shortstop will not rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays when they return to Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, as MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to place him on administrative leave until further notice on Tuesday morning.

Franco was placed on the restricted list by mutual agreement between the Rays and Franco on August 14, which was extended through Monday. MLB and, according to published reports, authorities in his native Dominican Republic have initiated an investigation into social media postings alleging the 22-year-old had an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

Major League Baseball issued the following statement on Tuesday: “According to an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, Wander Franco has been placed on administrative leave until further notice while MLB continues its investigation.” Effective immediately, the administrative leave is not a disciplinary action under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. We will provide additional comment at the appropriate time.”

The Rays issued the following statement shortly after MLB’s announcement: “We support Major League Baseball’s decision to place Wander Franco on administrative absence. On and off the field, the Tampa Bay Rays are committed to upholding high standards of integrity. We appreciate the patient and understanding of our admirers and supporters as this procedure unfolds. We will make no further comments until MLB completes its investigation.”

Administrative leave is not considered to be punitive. Under the MLB and MLBPA-negotiated Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy, players on administrative leave continue to receive their salary and Major League service time. As part of the 11-year, $182 million guaranteed contract he signed after the 2021 season, the club continued to pay Franco his $2 million salary while he was on the restricted list this past week.

Franco denied the allegations in an Instagram Live video captured in the Rays’ clubhouse prior to their August 13 game at Tropicana Field. Franco’s last game was on August 12. Since then, he has not released a statement or spoken in public, and he did not travel with the team last week. According to reports, he has retained legal counsel in both the United States and the Dominican Republic.

After announcing Franco’s placement on the restricted list, the Rays released the following statement: “We support any measures the league takes to better comprehend the situation. We have no further comments at this time out of respect for all involved parties.”

Tuesday night will mark the beginning of a six-game homestand for the Rays against the Rockies.

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