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Wander Franco signs mega-deal extension with the Tampa Bay Rays

The 20-year-old shortstop signed the extension for up to $223 million, the Rays report.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays are wasting no time in securing shortstop Wander Franco. 

Franco has agreed to a 12-year extension that will guarantee him $182 million for the first 11 years, according to a news release from the baseball team. However, there is a 12th-year club option that could bump the total value to $223 million. 

The contract is breaking records for a player with less than one full year of service time with Franco being the fifth player the Rays have signed on to a long-term extension. 

The Rays say the contract also "represents the largest commitment to a player in the 24-year history of the franchise and the largest in major league history for a player with less than a year of major league service time," which was Ronald Acuna Jr.’s eight-year deal for $100 million with the Atlanta Braves.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization. So many of our areas had a hand in this—our scouting, development, health and wellness and coaching personnel plus many others,” Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, said in a statement.

“We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.” 

As a rookie in 2021, 20-year-old Franco hit .288/.347/.463, the Rays reports. He has quickly become a star, hitting seven home runs, 18 doubles, and five triples.

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” President of Baseball Operations Erik Neander said in a statement. 

“We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

Franco played in 70 games this season, finishing third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

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