Wander Franco has had 281 regular-season at-bats in the majors. However, he is about to receive a huge payment and sign the largest contract in Rays history.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Franco signed an 11-year, $ 185 million contract extension with Tampa Bay, easily surpassing the six-year, $ 100 million extension the Rays signed third baseman Evan Longoria in 2012.
More detailed update: Wander Franco’s deal with Tampa Bay is for 11 years and $ 185 million. There is a 12-year option and the total value could go up to $ 223 million. @TBTimes_Rays a deal was being made, and @YancenPujols He first reported the talks between Franco and the Rays.
– Jeff Passan (@Jeff Passan) November 23, 2023
Franco’s deal is the latest big deal signed with a young prospect with little major league experience, and it’s a clear sign of the Rays’ belief in their star prospect’s talent as a mainstay of the franchise.
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Wander Franco contract details
Franco dazzled in his limited time in the major leagues this season, tying Frank Robinson for the longest on-base streak of a player 20 and under, ultimately earning him third place in the League Rookie of the Year voting. American despite just showing up. in 70 regular season games.
Now they pay him like a star.
Franco’s deal will average $ 16.8 million per year, far from the highest paid player in baseball, but also well above anyone Tampa Bay will pay in 2023 or have paid before. According to Spotrac, Kevin Kiermaier will receive the most money in 2023, when he makes about $ 12.2 million. Spotrac reports that Longoria, at most, earned a collective $ 13 million from the Rays in 2017, the most in a year of any player in Tampa Bay.
They pass reports that there is a $ 25 million club option for the twelfth year. Passan also reported that he could receive $ 3 million worth of escalators for finishing in the top five in the AL MVP voting beginning in 2028. There is no no-trade clause in his deal, and if he is traded, you will receive an additional $ 3 million as an assignment bonus, according to Passan.
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Franco has long been seen as one of the main stars of the game. As an international free agent at just 16 years old, Franco signed with the Rays for a $ 3,825,000 bonus. Despite being one of the youngest players at every level he has played, Franco has shined, demonstrating one of the most patient approaches to the game alongside the ability to hit for power, steal a base, and play smooth defense. at shortstop.
He spent just three years in the minors, not including the 2020 season in which there was no minor league baseball, and he skipped Double-A entirely, debuting in 2023 right at Triple-A. Before his promotion to the majors, he was down .313 / .372 / .583 with seven homers and five stolen bases in 40 games.
From the moment he was promoted to the Rays, with his major league debut on June 22, he showed star potential. He was 2 of 4 with a home run and a walk on his debut. Although he was hitless in his next four games, he quickly fired it up, cutting .302 / .354 / .473 with six home runs, 20 walks and just 32 strikeouts for the remainder of the season. On July 25, he reached base through a single and proceeded to base in 43 consecutive games, tying Robinson’s mark. During the streak, he missed two weeks due to a hamstring injury, but still came back and reached in four straight games after coming back from the disabled list.
Franco was also unfazed by the postseason spotlight, reaching base in all four multi-hit games in each contest. Against the Red Sox, he dropped .368 / .368 / .789 with a pair of home runs, four RBIs and just three strikeouts in four games.
Although the Rays are notoriously thrifty, they have been no stranger to hiring young players in longer-term deals.
Just days after Longoria’s MLB career, he signed a six-year, $ 17.5 million deal. Matt Moore, once the highest-rated prospect in baseball, also received a bigger contract after debuting in September 2011, signing a five-year, $ 14 million deal with the Rays to stay in Tampa. In Chris Archer’s second full year in the majors, he signed a six-year, $ 25.5 million deal to stay with the Rays. Brandon Lowe had played in just 43 games when he signed a six-year, $ 24 million deal with the Rays before the start of the 2019 season.
But Franco becomes the latest young prospect to sign a major contract with his team early in his MLB career. Here’s a look at some other notable non-Rays to sign extensions before going too far in their major league career, along with total games played at the time of the deal.
|MLB games played
|$ 25 million
|$ 26 million
|$ 24 million
|$ 35 million
|$ 43 million
|Ronald Acuña Jr.
|$ 100 million
|$ 55 million
|$ 50 million
|Fernando Tatis Jr.
|$ 340 million
Obviously, both parties come with risks and rewards for signing a major agreement. For the team, they could be committing money too soon, only to witness a player’s tank performance or injuries that could sideline them. On the other hand, they could sign a young star to a very team-friendly contract that costs them less than what keeps them in check for a few years of free agency; Franco would have been under the control of the team for six more years, but now he has. at least 11 seasons with the Rays.
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And for players, money is guaranteed that is significantly more than what they would make in arbitration or in their entry-level contract: Franco would have made just over $ 500,000 in 2023. However, if a player were to become a star, they would lose years of free agency where they could have signed a bigger deal and made more money.
Franco’s deal is the largest of any player without having played a full season of games, beating the previous record for the eight-year, $ 100 million deal that Acuña signed with the Braves.
Tatis still holds the record for the largest contract signed by a player who has yet to reach arbitration eligibility, which occurs when a player has at least three years of service and less than six years in the majors. It remains the third-largest contract by total value in MLB history, trailing only Mike Trout’s 12-year, $ 426 million extension signed with the Angels in 2020, and the 12-year, $ 365 million extension. signed by Mookie Betts to stay with the Angels. Dodgers.