Administrative leave extended through June 1 for Rays’ Wander Franco amidst ongoing sexual abuse investigation

Tampa Bay’s All-Star shortstop, Wander Franco, has been placed on administrative leave until June 1 as part of an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association. This decision comes as the investigation into his alleged relationship with a minor is ongoing.

Administrative leave does not fall under the disciplinary actions outlined in the joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy of the sport. When a player is placed on administrative leave, they continue to receive their salary. In the case of Franco, who earns $2 million this year, he has chosen to stay in his native Dominican Republic while authorities there conduct their investigation. As a result, he did not report to spring training.

The Tampa Bay Rays are set to kick off their season on Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays, which has put Major League Baseball and the players’ union in a position where they must determine Wander Franco’s roster status.

Franco last played on August 12 and was placed on the restricted list for a week on August 14. This came after MLB initiated an investigation due to social media posts that hinted at Franco being in a relationship with a minor. It is important to note that the reported posts have not been verified by the AP.

Franco was placed on administrative leave on August 22 and stayed on leave until the end of the season. Administrative leave is not applicable during the offseason.

The MLB is expected to delay making any disciplinary decisions until the investigation in the Dominican Republic has been completed.

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In a surprising turn of events, James Franco, who was initially facing charges of commercial and sexual exploitation and money laundering, now finds himself accused of sexual and psychological abuse. This new accusation comes from a judge’s resolution obtained by The Associated Press in January. The allegations against Franco carry serious consequences, including potential prison sentences of up to 30 years for sexual abuse, 10 years for psychological abuse, and 20 years for money laundering.

If Franco is found guilty of the new charge, he may face a prison sentence ranging from two to five years. Although he has not been formally accused yet, the potential consequences are significant.

At just 23 years old, Franco had his promising career abruptly put on hold during his third season in the major leagues. Prior to that, he had been performing exceptionally well, with a batting average of .281, 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, and an impressive 30 stolen bases in 40 attempts over the course of 112 games.

In November 2021, Franco signed an 11-year contract worth $182 million.

Last year, he made a total of $706,761, which was in addition to his salary. This extra amount came from MLB’s pre-arbitration bonus pool, which is a fund established through the agreement between the league and players’ association in their 2022 labor contract. The purpose of this pool is to provide incentives for young players, who often earn salaries close to or slightly above the minimum salary for major league players, depending on their experience in the league.

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