Tampa Bay Rays star shortstop Wander Franco, who had been away from the team for over a week on the Restricted List as the league investigated allegations of a relationship with one or more minors, has now been placed on administrative leave as those investigations continue.
This is a more formal step in the process of investigating and, if warranted after investigation, imposing punishment:
A report from the Tampa Bay Times has more on the allegations and the process playing out in the Dominican Republic. As noted in the report, Franco seemed to dispute the allegations in an earlier Instagram Live video.
As far as the MLB process is concerned, we know that, from past incidents where the league and union’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy is invoked, this can take a long time to reach a resolution. Although an investigation does not always lead to punishment, sometimes the process is shortened by way of an agreed-upon suspension between the player and the Commissioner’s Office. I’m not sure that’s going to happen in this case. So, I expect this to take a very long time to play out, perhaps on into the offseason.
If it does take that long, that means the Rays would be without Franco, 22, for the duration of the regular season and postseason, and the reality is that his future in the league could be in jeopardy, depending on what the investigations and processes uncover. It’s still too early – and too little is confirmed and known – to speculate on precisely what will happen. All we know for sure is that there are allegations out there, processes are playing out in the Dominican Republic and in MLB, and Franco is not likely to play again for a very long time as the processes play out.