The Tampa Bay Rays have locked up one of the brightest young stars in baseball for over a decade.
Wander Franco agreed to an 11-year deal worth $182 million guaranteed and up to 12 years and $223 million if a final-year option is exercised, according to multiple reports. It is the largest contract in Rays history and sets a new record for a player with less than a year of service time, surpassing Ronald Acuna’s $100 million deal with the Braves.
The 20-year-old shortstop was widely considered the top prospect in baseball last season. He made his MLB debut in June and batted .288 with seven homers and a .810 OPS in 308 plate appearances across 70 games.
It is rare for the small-market Rays — who according to Spotrac had the fifth-lowest total payroll in MLB this past year at $70.8 million — to pay big money for a player. If Franco fulfills his promise, he’ll be worth way more than the $16.5 million he’ll make annually on average. However, he is now guaranteed generational wealth at 20, and guaranteed to be very richly compensated much sooner than 2027, which would’ve been his final arbitration year.
This past the season, the Rays won the AL East with a 100-62 record, besting the Yankees and Red Sox by eight games apiece. However, they lost to the Red Sox in four games in the ALDS.
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