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Tampa Bay Rays provide key update on Wander Franco on MLB Opening Day; Is Franco getting paid?

Wander Franco
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Like most of baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays will host their regular season opener on Thursday afternoon with the Toronto Blue Jays in town for MLB Opening Day. Yet, the Rays won’t have one of their most well-known players, Wander Franco.

This is not a surprise after the Rays’ shortstop didn’t end the 2023 season with the team either, playing his last game on August 12. Yet, with a new season finally here, many were wondering what was going on with the 23-year-old one-time All-Star.

We now have our answer.

The Tampa Bay Rays have placed Wander Franco on paid administrative leave through June 1 after reaching an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. His case relating to the alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old in the Dominican Republic is still unresolved.

Franco’s arrangement with MLB allows his status to change if the pending case receives new information. Yet, until then, he’ll continue to be paid his $2 million salary for the season even though he didn’t even report to spring training with the team. He’s still under contract through 2032 and is still technically owed $174 million.

Should there be no further developments by June 1, Franco’s administrative leave could be extended, or he could be placed on the restricted list where he would not be paid. The sides could also reach a new agreement under new terms too. Franco could also receive a significant suspension from MLB.

Related: 2024 MLB power rankings: Where do the Tampa Bay Rays rank?

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