Rays’ standout Wander Franco was absent from the team’s travel plans as MLB investigates social media posts related to the rising star.
The 22-year-old Franco was notably absent from the Rays’ flight to San Francisco for their upcoming series against the Giants, which commences Monday evening, according to ESPN.
Emerging on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, the now-deleted posts alleged that Franco had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a minor, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays acknowledged the MLB’s scrutiny of the posts and allegations.
“In light of today’s game, we were informed of circulating social media posts involving Wander Franco,” the Rays conveyed in a statement. “We take this matter seriously and remain closely engaged with Major League Baseball as it performs its comprehensive review.”
Tampa did not specify the content of the posts.
Franco did not participate in the Rays’ 9-2 defeat to the Guardians on Sunday, with manager Kevin Cash attributing his absence to a prearranged rest day.
Aware of the speculation, Cash refrained from further comment: “I won’t elaborate on that. The day off was preplanned.”
Franco took his place in the Rays’ dugout at the beginning of Sunday’s game, leaving during the fifth inning.
Sunday’s event at Tropicana Field featured the Wander Franco Snapback Hat promotion for fans aged 14 and under.
An American League All-Star in his third MLB season this year, Franco boasts a slash line of .281/.344/.475 with a .819 OPS, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases.
Having signed an 11-year, $182 million contract in November 2021, Franco’s deal includes a team option for 2033, potentially amounting to $223 million.
MLB Pipeline previously ranked Franco as the top overall prospect in baseball prior to his call-up by the Rays in 2021.