The Tampa Bay Rays have signed their young shortstop Wander Franco to an enormous, record-breaking deal. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Rays and Franco have agreed to a 12-year, $185 million contract extension.
The deal is the largest in the entire history of the Rays, dating back to the team's first season in 1998. Before Franco, the largest was the six-year, $100 million extension the Rays gave to third baseman Evan Longoria in 2012.
Shortstop Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a 12-year contract that guarantees him around $185 million, sources tell ESPN. The deal is worth a maximum of $223 million. It is done, pending small details. The 20-year-old is going to be a Ray for a long time.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 23, 2021
Franco is just 20 and made his debut on June 22, 2021, but in 70 regular season games he made a statement. He hit .288/.347/.463 with seven homers, 18 doubles, and just 37 strikeouts. While he struggled through his first six weeks in the majors, he finished the last two months on an absolute tear. From Aug. 1 through the end of the season he hit .323/.383/.506, smashing 14 of his 18 total doubles. He finished tied for second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind his teammate, Randy Arozarena.
If the deal goes through, it would set a record for the largest contract ever given to a player with less than one year of service time. Currently, that record belongs to Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves, who signed an eight-year, $100 million contract in April 2019.