Earlier yesterday a few social media posts began to spread like wildfire that accused star shortstop Wander Franco of being in a relationship with a 14 year old girl. Here were the two posts in question.
Franco was held out of the Rays lineup on Sunday which Kevin Cash called a "scheduled day off." In some sick twist of fate it just so happened to be Wander Franco Snapback Hat day, available to fans 14 and under. Goodness…
Franco was spotted in the dugout early on in the game, but left around the 5th inning and never returned. A team employee was seen packing Franco's stuff into a travel bag as the Rays got ready to head on out to San Francisco after the game. The Rays then came out with a statement which was the first legitimate acknowledgment of the situation. Up until that point these were just rumors, and right now they still are, but the team/league addressing them certainly makes your ears perk up.
We then learned Wander was NOT traveling with the team to San Fran as the team learns more about the situation.
And now he's been placed on the restricted list as MLB launches a full investigation.
Had to do it. Whether this whole thing is true or not, there's a giant cloud of questions that are going to follow wherever Franco goes. If he's with them in San Francisco it'll be a giant distraction. It's also gotta be incredibly uncomfortable for the rest of his teammates right now. Everyone is better off with him laying low for the time being while we all learn about what actually went down. Take the guy's phone away, make sure he stays off Twitter, doesn't go on IG live, and let the investigators do their job.
All of this is insane. I hesitated writing the blog yesterday until we got a reaction from the team/league, but everyone is clearly treating this very seriously. There's a very real chance he never plays again.
Wander is one of the best players in the whole league and the face of an MLB franchise. He signed an 11 year, $182M contract in 2021 that was seen as a major statement from the Rays, an organization that does not hand out large money deals of any kind. If these allegations are proven true he's done forever, similar to Pirates star reliever Felipe Vázquez back in 2019. That would be fucking crazy and very sad for all involved. He's got a wife and two kids at home and now they gotta deal with this mess.
All of this is really disturbing and we can only hope it's not true. Just the idea of a 22 year old having a relationship with an 8th grader is horrifying. One of the game's most talented, young superstars could potentially go away forever in the blink of an eye.
I do have to stress that there's a whole lot of information to still come out here. Randy Arozarena was accused of kidnapping his kid a few years ago and quickly was cleared after the facts came out. It definitely doesn't look good right now for Wander, but all we can do is wait for the full story.