Tampa Bay Rays’ Prized Shortstop Wander Franco Absent from Spring Training Amidst Legal Turmoil

Tampa Bay Rays’ highly regarded shortstop, Wander Franco, did not report for spring training on Sunday, leaving the team without their star player as he remains embroiled in a legal controversy in his native Dominican Republic. The 22-year-old phenom is facing possible criminal charges following accusations of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the team declined to comment on Franco’s status, only confirming his absence from training. Unable to enter the United States due to the ongoing investigation, Franco’s situation may prompt Major League Baseball (MLB) to consider placing him on administrative leave or the restricted list. If placed on the restricted list, Franco stands to lose the $2 million he was set to earn this year as part of his lucrative 11-year, $182 million contract signed in 2021.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash expressed that the team was not caught off guard by Franco’s absence, stating, “We’ve been prepared for it for quite some time.” Cash emphasized the need to focus on the players present and expressed eagerness to see the team’s other talented individuals.

Adding to Franco’s legal woes, a member of his legal team reportedly left the case on Saturday, leaving him with only one remaining lawyer. Meanwhile, the Rays’ backup shortstop, Taylor Walls, is currently recovering from offseason hip surgery, and the team acquired Jose Caballero from the Seattle Mariners last month to fill the position. Caballero is expected to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day, although he does not possess the same offensive prowess as Franco.

Franco’s absence is a significant blow to the Rays, as he was expected to be a cornerstone of the team’s future. His absence also raises doubts about his MLB career, as well as the potential consequences he may face if found guilty of abduction and sexual abuse, which could result in a prison sentence of 2-10 years. Authorities have until July 5 to file charges against him. Franco was initially placed on the restricted list in August and could still face a suspension from MLB, regardless of the criminal charges.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. Hi there! I found your post about Wander Franco’s absence from spring training quite interesting. I was wondering if you could expand on the legal controversy he is currently facing in the Dominican Republic. It would be great to get more details about the situation and how it might impact his future with the Tampa Bay Rays. Thanks!

  2. It’s disappointing to hear that Wander Franco is not reporting for spring training due to a legal controversy. As a highly regarded player, his absence will undoubtedly have an impact on the Tampa Bay Rays’ performance. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we should wait for the legal process to unfold before passing judgment. Hopefully, this situation can be resolved quickly, and Franco can return to the field soon.

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