Wander Franco Update: MLB extends controversial Rays shortstop's administrative leave till July 14 as investigation continues, per report

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays returns to his dugout during a game against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field
Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays returns to his dugout during a game against the Cleveland Guardians at Tropicana Field

MLB reportedly announced on Thursday that the league will extend Wander Franco's administrative leave until July 14 as they await new developments in the investigation on the Tampa Bay Rays star. The shortstop was accused of having sexual relations with a minor and paying her mother for consent in August last year.

As the authorities in the Dominican Republic continue their investigation, they have a deadline of July 5 to present their accusations, hence the extension. He has not been formally charged by Dominican authorities and they have a deadline of July 5 to do so. He will continue to receive his $2 million salary till then.

Last week the 23-year-old shortstop was relieved from making monthly check-ins with the authorities by a Dominican court in the ongoing investigation.

Franco made his MLB debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019 after he was signed by the team as one of the top international prospects in 2017. In his short career so far, he impressed on the field, earning his place in the Rays lineup.

However, his first All-Star season came to a crippling halt last year, when allegations of his sexual relationship in the Dominican surfaced in August. Since then, Franco has been out of MLB action and it has been almost a year now as the investigation into the matter continues.

What does the extension on Wander Franco's administrative leave mean for the Rays?

MLB's reported decision to extend Wander Franco's administrative leave till mid-July makes it clear that they will make their decision based on the ongoing investigation in the Dominican Republic. His administrative leave can be extended further if a resolution is not reached by July 14.

Franco can also face disciplinary action by the MLB if the league gathers information before the deadline. That is six weeks from now and is a huge factor that will affect the Tampa Bay Rays' short and long-term future.

With the All-Star break soon approaching, the Rays are flirting with a dangerously low 28-29 record so far in the MLB season. As one of the genuine contenders for the playoff spot, they need to start getting some results soon. Hence, the next two months will most likely determine where they stand in their pursuit of a postseason spot.

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