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Rays Make Franco’s Record-Setting Deal Official

photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays officially announced Saturday the signing of shortstop Wander Franco to an eleven-year contract worth $182 million, with an option for a 12th year and maximum value of $223 million.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said.  “So many of our areas had a hand in this—our scouting, development, health and wellness and coaching personnel plus many others.

“We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.”

Franco’s deal sets a new record for the largest contract ever offered a player in franchise history, surpassing the six-year, $100 million extension signed by third baseman Evan Longoria.  It also eclipses the eight-year, $100 million deal signed by Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. as the largest contract ever offered a player with less than one year of major league service time.

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” President of Baseball Operations Erik Neander said. “We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

The deal keeps Franco under contract through the 2032 season when he’ll be just 31 years old.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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