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Rays And Star Shortstop Wander Franco Agree To Massive Extension

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The Rays and shortstop Wander Franco are in agreement on an 11-year, $185 million contract extension, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Franco will have a $25 million club option for the 12th year. The deal can max out at $223 million. Passan notes that Franco does not have a no-trade clause in his contract.

Franco, 20, originally signed with Tampa Bay on July 2, 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. He quickly became one of the top prospects in baseball and before the 2021 season, was named the No. 1 prospect in the MLB. He made his long-awaited debut on June 22 against the Red Sox. Franco wasted no time introducing himself, hitting a three-run home run off Eduardo Rodriguez.

The switch-hitter finished up his rookie season playing 70 games, slashing .281/.347/.463 with seven homers and 39 RBIs. Franco started off slow but found his footing in July. From July 25-Sept. 29, Franco reached base in 43 consecutive games, tied with MLB Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in 1956 for the longest on-base streak of a player 20 years old or younger. During that stretch, Franco slashed .329/.398/.545.

He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting, with teammate Randy Arozarena winning the award.

The Rays, known for being cost efficient, are making a huge commitment to their future with the signing of Franco. Franco was pivotal in Tampa Bay winning 100 games this season and topping the AL East in the process. In four games during the postseason, Franco slashed .368/.368/.789 with two homers and four RBIs.

Franco is the latest of top prospects to receive a lengthy extension in the infancy of their MLB careers. Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. signed an eight-year, $100 million deal in April 2019 after his rookie season in 2018. White Sox outfielder Luis Robert signed a six-year, $50 million deal in January 2020 before he even played a game in the MLB.

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Nick is a life-long sports fan who is proud to say he suffered through 15 years of Bucs futility to witness a Super Bowl victory in 2020. Nick has a passion for writing and is proud to represent OutKick. Follow me on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

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