Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco is under investigation in the Dominican Republic for very serious allegations made on social media.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Jeff Passan, along with the AP, have confirmed that an investigation into Wander Franco is underway.
Per the Associated Press, Wander Franco is under investigation in the Dominican Republic regarding some disturbing social media allegations:
"“The investigations follow reported social media posts suggesting Franco was in a relationship with a minor. The Associated Press has not been able to verify the reported posts. Asked about Franco’s alleged relationship with the minor, the media office of the attorney general in the Dominican Republic said in a statement “there are investigations regarding that matter.”"
Franco did not play in Sunday’s game against the Guardians — a home game which featured at Wander-themed hat giveaway — and did not travel with the team on their subsequent roadtrip. The Rays are aware of the allegations facing Franco, and placed him on the restricted list.
“The Tampa Bay Rays and Wander Franco have mutually agreed that he will go on the Restricted List and take leave from the club for the duration of the current road trip,” the team said.
Wander Franco allegations: All the latest, from Rays to Dominican investigation
On a later call, Tampa Bay president of baseball operations Erik Neander said “our comments on Wander are going to stand for what we have to say.”
Thus, there has been no change in the team’s stance. As for Franco himself, he has yet to release an official statement via an attorney, though he did briefly address the matter on Instagram live. The following, from the Jomboy Media podcast, discusses Franco’s commentary.
22-year-old Osleivis Basabe, formerly one of Tampa’s top prospects, started on Sunday and Monday, and will likely move forward as the team’s starting shortstop until this situation is cleared up. MLB is conducting its own investigation into the allegations surrounding Franco. It’s unclear if they are in contract with Dominican authorities.