Police unable to find Rays star Wander Franco amid accusations

Local authorities in the Dominican Republic recently conducted raids on two homes in search of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco. According to a report from Dominican newspaper Listin Diario, the authorities were looking for Franco, 22, after he allegedly had a relationship with a minor. The raids took place at Franco’s maternal home in Palo Blanco and his own home in Villa Real, but the police were unable to locate him.

The accusations against Franco date back to August when the MLB began investigating social media posts about his alleged inappropriate involvement with a minor. As a result, the Rays placed Franco on the restricted list on August 14. The MLB then moved him to paid administrative leave on August 22 when Dominican authorities launched a formal investigation. However, the Rays have since moved him back to the active roster because administrative leave is not available during the offseason.

In a statement, the Rays expressed their support for the MLB’s decision to place Franco on administrative leave and emphasized their commitment to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field. They stated that they would not make any further statements on the matter until the MLB completes its process.

Franco, who is in his third year as a major leaguer, had a breakout season in 2023, earning his first All-Star game selection. He finished the season with a .281 batting average, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, and a career-high .819 OPS. In November 2021, Franco signed an 11-year contract with the Rays, with $182 million guaranteed money. However, if the investigation continues, the Rays may seek a buyout from Franco’s contract.

Franco has denied the accusations against him, stating in August that people don’t know what they’re talking about and that he prefers to stay on his side and not get involved with anybody. The outcome of the investigation will determine Franco’s future with the Rays and his reputation in the baseball community. Until then, fans and supporters are asked to be patient and await the conclusion of the MLB’s process.

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