The Rays are in agreement on a massive extension with 20-year-old shortstop Wander Franco, who made his debut during the 2021 season. The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported Tuesday morning that while the contract is still being worked out, Franco is expected to receive more than 10 years and a salary approaching or exceeding $200 million.
Franco’s deal will be the largest the Rays have ever given out and the largest ever for a player with less than a year of MLB service time. Franco will receive a guaranteed 11 years and $182 million, with a 12th-year option that could raise the total value of the contract to $223 million. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the two sides had an agreement, while the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported earlier Tuesday that they were close to a deal.
Update with more details: Wander Franco’s deal with Tampa Bay is for 11 years and $185 million. There is a 12th-year option and the total value could jump to $223 million. @TBTimes_Rays was on deal being done, and @YancenPujols first reported talks between Franco and the Rays.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 23, 2021
If completed, deal is largest in #Rays history and for any MLB player with less than 1 year service time.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 23, 2021
Also a significant accomplishment for #Rays to have Franco under control for more than a decade. https://t.co/SWglGd9AZZ
Franco, who was ranked as the top prospect in baseball when he was called up in late June, got off to a slow start but ultimately lived up to the hype, hitting .288/.347/.463 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven homers, and 39 RBI. He recorded six defensive runs at shortstop and also saw limited action at third and second base. He also hit .368 with two doubles and two homers in 19 playoff at-bats.
Franco and his agents are bound to receive some criticism for accepting this deal, not only because he’s a player who would have had the potential to earn a deal approaching $400 million if he hit free agency at the normal time, but also because there’s so much uncertainty surrounding the Rays franchise. Ownership wants to split home games between Tampa and Montreal, and that lack of stability is bound to cause negative effects for some players. He’ll now earn much more than he would’ve during his pre-arbitration and arbitration years, though, and that’s a very nice level of financial comfort for a 20-year-old player with 70 major league games under his belt.