Rays’ Wander Franco placed on administrative leave as MLB probes alleged relationships with minors

Tampa Bay Rays star Wander Franco was placed on administrative leave as Major League Baseball investigates the shortstop’s alleged relationship with underage girls.

“Per an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, Wander Franco has been placed on Administrative Leave until further notice as MLB continues its ongoing investigation,” the league said Tuesday. “The administrative leave, effective immediately, is not disciplinary under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. We will comment further at the appropriate time.”


Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays during the Cleveland Guardians game at Tropicana Field on Aug. 12, 2023, in St Petersburg, Florida. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Franco’s stay on the restricted list was set to end before the Rays took on the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. He was placed on the restricted list on Aug. 14 while MLB launched an investigation following social media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. In between that time, a second allegation surfaced against the shortstop as well.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was placed on administrative leave from July 2, 2021, until the following April 29, when he was suspended for 324 games. The penalty was reduced by an arbitrator to 194 games. Bauer was accused of assault – which he denied and was never charged with.

Ángel Darío Tejeda Fabal, a prosecutor in the Dominican Republic, said an investigation into Franco was open under a division specializing in minors and gender violence.


Wander Franco swings

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays swings at a pitch against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field on Aug. 12, 2023, in St Petersburg. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The Rays expressed support for the MLB investigation.

“We support Major League Baseball’s decision to place Wander Franco on Administration Leave,” the Rays said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “The Tampa Bay Rays are dedicated to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans and supporters as this process unfolds. We will have no further statements on this matter until MLB completes its process.”

Franco reportedly went on his Instagram Live prior to the Rays taking on the Cleveland Guardians to deny the allegations against him.

His teammate, Jose Siri, was heard in the background yelling, “people after money,” in Spanish, per The Athletic.

Tampa Bay signed him to an 11-year, $182 million deal to be a cornerstone piece for years to come on a franchise that has seen much success in recent seasons.

Franco was named to his first All-Star team this season as he’s slashing .281/.344/.475 with a .819 OPS, 17 homers and 58 RBI over 112 games.

Wander Franco points

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates after making an out against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field on Aug. 11, 2023, in St Petersburg. (Mark Taylor/Getty Images)


More than a dozen players have been disciplined by MLB under the domestic violence policy. The latest was New York Yankees pitcher Jimmy Cordero, who agreed to a 76-game suspension on July 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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