Tampa Bay Rays Lock Up Young Star To Record-Breaking Deal

 

He's played only 70 games in the big leagues, but what a 70 games it was. Enough to land rookie sensation Wander Franco a record-breaking contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. Franco today agreed to a 12-year, $223M pact; no player with less than one year of big league experience has ever come close to those numbers. 

When the Atlanta Braves signed Ronald Acuna after his first year of service, he got 8 years, $100M. Franco has more than doubled that. 

The Rays are usually known for trading away top young talents before they have to pay them, but with a talent of Franco's caliber, the Rays took quite the different path. 

The 20-year-old hit .288 in his half-season in 2021, and tied an all-time baseball record for a player of that age, with a 43-game on-base streak.

According to Jeff Passan, the deal contains a guaranteed 11 years and $182M, plus an option, but does not contain a no-trade clause. As Ken Rosenthal reported, the deal covers all three of Franco's arbitration years, and seven free agent years. 

A couple of incredible side notes on this: According to CBS Sports' Danny Vietti, the Rays TOTAL PAYROLL of the last FIVE YEARS combined was $233M. Franco nearly matches that with his contract alone. 

And, New York Mets' fans might want to turn away from this last fact:

Yes, when Franco's 12-year contract is done in 2034, the Mets will still be paying Bobby Bonilla. (He retired in 2001, but receives $1.19M from the Mets until he's 72 years old, in 2035). 

In the meantime, let's just revel in the wonder (Wander) of Franco. 

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