Update on the Status of Rays’ Wander Franco

Sources informed ESPN that Wander Franco, the shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, has been put on paid administrative leave until June 1st. This decision follows an agreement reached between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, pending the resolution of his criminal case concerning an alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old in the Dominican Republic.

The agreement stipulates that Franco’s MLB status could be subject to change should there be any developments in the ongoing case. Prosecutors have accused him of violating sexual exploitation and money-laundering laws, although formal charges have not been filed against Franco at this time.

Insiders knowledgeable about the legal proceedings involving Franco disclosed to ESPN that there have been no substantial developments, and investigations are ongoing without a specified timeline for formal charges to be filed.

During a coercive measures hearing held in January, prosecutors were granted a six-month window to formulate their accusation against Franco.

Franco, 23, was selected to his first All-Star team in 2023. In response to the allegations against him — that he had sex with the teenage girl when he was 21 — being made public, Franco was placed on administrative leave for the final six weeks of the season. When MLB investigates players for potential violations of the league’s policies on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, they may be placed on administrative leave.

Despite not attending spring training, Franco will continue to receive his $2 million salary. He remains contracted with the team until 2032, with a total owed amount of $174 million.

Should the situation remain unresolved by June 1, several options lie ahead: extending Franco’s administrative leave, transferring him to the restricted list (resulting in no pay), or reaching an alternative arrangement. Franco has persisted with his training in the Dominican Republic during the winter, yet the uncertainty regarding his visa approval for entry into the United States lingers. MLB’s inquiry into Franco’s case is anticipated to continue until there is clarity regarding the progress of his criminal proceedings. Potential repercussions under the league’s policy, including suspension, loom over Franco depending on the outcome.