Wander Franco’s teammate urges fans to hold off on judgement as team continues red-hot surge

On August 13, the baseball world was shocked after some serious allegations surfaced against shortstop Wander Franco. The 22-year old Tampa Bay Rays shortstop has not played a game since.

The accuser, a woman from the Dominican Republic, claimed to be the 14-year old girlfriend of the Rays player. Immediately, Franco was taken out of the lineup as MLB and Dominican authorities announced seperate investigations into his personal life.

While Wander Franco has since been placed on administrative leave, the investigation is ongoing. However, some have claimed that Franco might not ever see an MLB clubhouse again.

Despite Franco’s absence, the Tampa Bay Rays have been on fire since he left the lineup. Their 3-0 win over the Marlins on Wednesday represented the team’s fourth straight win and nine of their last ten.

“The Rays are 10-4 since losing Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan. They still, somehow, have the third best record in the Majors. There’ll be a 30 for 30 one day on how this franchise does it.” – Jordan Moore

In a recent interview with UPI Sports, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe was asked about the Franco affair. Keen to stay on message and not speculate, Lowe offered a noncommittal, but sufficient answer. In reference to his disgraced teammate, Lowe said:

“We haven’t heard any updates. We know nothing. What are you going to take for truth? What someone says on Twitter versus what’s actually happening? It’s a very weird situation that none of us have been in before.”

Despite opening the season to a record-tying 13-0 record, July was a rough month for the Rays. Their 8-16 record caused them to relinquish the lead in the AL East, witnessing the Baltimore Orioles rocket ahead.

Now 1.5 games back of Baltimore, nobody can deny that the team has been doing very well since Wander Franco left the lineup. Since August 13, the Rays have hit the second-most RBIs in all of MLB.

Wander Franco situation draws on with no end in sight

Similarly to what happened with Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer in 2021, the league is keen to keep Franco on administrative leave for as long as possible. By doing so, they can conduct an in-depth investigation without suffering from a PR disaster.

While nobody knows what exactly will come of Wander Franco, or his $182 million contract, his team seems to be doing fine without him. Perhaps, they will need to get used to not having him around.

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