What the Wander Franco deal really means
When the Rays give an enormous contract to a 20-year-old rookie who has played just 70 major league games, what they are really doing is investing in fans in a place where team loyalty is fragile as a snowflake.
What's happening: "I wish to stay here for my whole career," Wander Franco said through an interpreter at a Monday presser for his new 12-year, $185 million extension, a deal that could total $223 million.
- It doesn’t always work like that, of course. Plenty of young players who get long contracts wind up in New York with years left.
And yet: As the NYT points out, this contract sets a new record for the most money guaranteed to a player with less than a year of major league service.
Why it matters: The Rays clubhouse has always had a revolving door — the notable exception was a big deal to keep Evan Longoria for a few years.
- But talented players like David Price, B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford came and went before turning 30.
- So going to a Rays game — seeing jerseys that say Snell, Pham, Adames, or Kazmir — is like bearing witness to the promiscuity of a partner simultaneously trying to get you to commit to monogamy.
The big picture: The Franco deal is as long term as it gets, John Romano points out.
- Franco will now be the face of the franchise through the end of the Tropicana Field lease and whatever is beyond.
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