AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly agreed to a 12-year, $223 million contract extension.
Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital reported the news after Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times said the two sides were “moving close” to a long-term deal.
Jeff Passan of ESPN shared more specifics on Franco’s deal with the Rays:
Franco has played just 70 games in the majors, producing a .288 batting average, .347 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 39 RBI in that time.
Despite the limited time in the majors, baseball experts have been expecting big things from Franco for several years after excelling at every stage of the minors. He was rated the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball in each of the past two years by Baseball America.
The 20-year-old lived up to expectations once he reached the big leagues.
“I think you could make the argument that he’s the most impactful player on any team in baseball,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said in October, per Adam Berry of MLB.com.
“He is a game-changing player,” Cash added. “It’s going to be fun to watch for a long time.”
Franco excelled both offensively and defensively and was key in helping the Rays finish 100-62 in 2021, good for first place in the AL East.
Tampa Bay now locks down the emerging superstar for more than a decade, even getting a relative discount compared to Fernando Tatis Jr. and his 14-year, $330 million deal with the San Diego Padres.
Without the contract, Franco would have had two more seasons on his rookie deal before three years of arbitration, potentially hitting free agency for the first time after the 2027 season. The new deal secures the player’s future with guaranteed money regardless of performance going forward.