“The administrative leave, effective immediately, is not disciplinary under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. We will comment further at the appropriate time.”
“The application of administrative leave implies that MLB believes it has enough evidence to withstand a potential challenge by Franco,” MLB insider Jeff Passan wrote.
Franco has been removed from the Tampa Bay Rays roster.
“The Tampa Bay Rays are dedicated to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field,” the team said in a statement. “We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans and supporters as this process unfolds. We will have no further statements on this matter until MLB completes its process.”
According to ESPN, the MLBPA and Franco’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, declined comment.
MLB is investigating social media posts relating to Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, according to multiple outlets, after Instagram posts about him went viral on Sunday afternoon. Franco did not play in Sunday’s game, which the Guardians won, 9-2.
The Rays issued the following statement:
“During today’s game, we were made aware of the social media posts that are circulating regarding Wander Franco. We take the situation seriously and are in close contact with Major League Baseball as it conducts its due diligence.”
The posts (which were posted to Instagram, but went viral on Twitter) seem to allege that Franco was inappropriately involved with a minor, though little is known about the allegations and Franco has not been charged with any crime. According to Rays Manager Kevin Cash, Franco was out of the lineup Sunday for a regular day off:
As of Sunday night, neither Franco nor MLB have made a statement about the allegations. The Rays have also not announced when Franco will return to the lineup.
UPDATE: August. 14, 9:30 A.M: According to an ESPN report, Franco did not travel with the Rays to San Francisco for their upcoming series against the Giants. The 22-year-old could be placed on the restricted list or administrative leave as the league’s investigation continues.
Franco made his first All-Star team this season and is hitting .281 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and 30 stolen base in 112 games. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2021, batting .288 with 7 HRs and 39 RBI in 308 plate appearances.
UPDATE: Aug. 14, 1:15 pm: According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Rays have placed Franco on the restricted list, removing him from the roster.
UPDATE: Aug. 16: Dominican newspaper Diario Libre, citing a source in the attorney general’s office, said that a 17-year-old girl reported a claim against Franco back in July. However, she is no longer cooperating.
As The Tampa Bay Times staff writer John Romano noted, the shortstop may not face criminal charges in his home country, but could still receive sanctions from MLB.
This is a developing story. Deadspin will continue to update this piece as more information becomes available.