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REPORT: Rays, Franco Close To Monster Deal

photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays and shortstop Wander Franco look like they are on the verge of a deal that would make the 20-year-old shortstop the highest paid player in franchise history.

Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting that the two sides are in agreement on an 11-year-contract worth $185 million, with an option for a 12th year that would push the deal to $223 million.

Franco, who was the top prospect in all of baseball in both 2020 and 2021, made his Major League debut June 22, and ended up hitting .288/.347/.463 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 70 games.  He also tied a Major League record for consecutive games reaching base safely by a player age 20 or younger, with 43, and ended up finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting to teammate Randy Arozarena.

The previous high for the largest contract ever signed for a Rays player was the six-year, $100 million extension deal signed by third baseman Evan Longoria that kicked in for the 2017 season.

The contract, which the team has not confirmed, would be pending a physical.

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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