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Rays, Wander Franco agree to largest contract in team history: reports

The Tampa Bay Rays and phenom Wander Franco have agreed to a record deal.

According to multiple reports, Franco is signing a 12-year, $185 million contract extension with the Rays, making it the largest deal in franchise history.

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Tampa Bay Rays’ Wander Franco celebrates his three-run homer against the Boston Red Sox on June 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Florida. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The deal, which is worth a maximum of $223 million, passed Evan Longoria’s six-year, $100 million extension he signed with the club in 2012.

Franco, 20, made his debut with the Rays on June 22, 2021. In just 70 regular-season games, the superstar shortstop had a slash line of .288/.347/.463 with seven home runs, 18 doubles, and only 37 strikeouts.

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Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals on Feb. 28, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals on Feb. 28, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Florida.
(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

From Aug. 1 through the end of the regular season, Franco had a .323/.383/.506 slash line and hit 14 out of his 18 doubles. He finished tied for second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind his teammate, Randy Arozarena.

Assuming the deal becomes official, it will set a record for the largest contract ever given to a player with less than one year of service time in the majors. The current record belongs to Ronald Acuña Jr., who signed an eight-year, $100 million contract with the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves in April 2019.

Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco hits against the Astros on Sept. 30, 2021, in Houston.

Tampa Bay Rays’ Wander Franco hits against the Astros on Sept. 30, 2021, in Houston.
((AP Photo/David J. Phillip))

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Franco will be a key cog for a Rays team that is still searching to win their first World Series title. Over the last three years, Tampa Bay has won more games than any other American League team. This past season, the Rays won the AL East with a 100-62 record.

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