The Tampa Bay Rays have announced that star short stop Wander Franco has been placed on Administrative Leave following his last eight days on the Restricted List, which resulted from online allegations of inappropriate relationships with underage girls.
The statement reads as follows:
We support Major League Baseball’s decision to place Wander Franco on Administration Leave.
The Tampa Bay Rays are dedicated to upholding high standards of integrity both on and off the field. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our fans and supporters as this process unfolds.
We will have no further statements on this matter until MLB completes its process.
While his placement on the restricted list was an agreement between Franco and the Rays, his placement on Administrative Leave is an action taken in agreement between MLB and the MLBPA.
If effect, this means the League has formally taken over the investigative process from the Rays, which they likely would have controlled from the beginning once the need to review the allegations in the Dominican was raised.
Per Marc Topkin, the change does not impact Franco’s pay and does not imply guilt:
The switch to the more formal administrative leave — which is not considered a disciplinary measure — puts him under league control, as it is part of the MLB/players union’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Topkin also reports that, in making this move, “MLB presumably would be confident it had sufficient cause.”
This morning ESPN’s Jeff Passan confirmed prior reports that Franco’s allegations do not stem from an isolated incident, but includes multiple underage girls.
Major League Baseball has placed Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco on administrative leave as the league and authorities in the Dominican Republic investigate Franco's alleged relationships with underaged girls, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 22, 2023