Rays’ Wander Franco signs blockbuster extension

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco finalized the terms Saturday on an 11-year, $182-million guaranteed contract that includes a club option.

If Franco’s option is exercised and specific incentives are met, Franco will pocket as much as $223 million over the next 12 years.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays, and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. “So many of our areas had a hand in this — our scouting, development, health and wellness and coaching personnel plus many others. We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.”

The deal was reported early in the week and became official Saturday, with a news conference scheduled at Tropicana Field on Monday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Franco, 20, made a smashing debut after being called up from Triple-A Durham in June. He hit .288 with 30 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs and 53 runs scored in 70 games, finishing third in the American League’s Rookie of the Year voting.

He reached base safely in 43 consecutive games from July 25 to Sept. 29, tying Hall of Famer Frank Robinson’s record for the longest streak in MLB history by a player 20 years old or younger.

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said. “We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

Franco’s extension is the largest in Rays’ history, surpassing the six-year, $100 million extension awarded to third baseman Evan Longoria after the 2012 season.

Tampa Bay originally signed Franco, a native of the Dominican Republic, at age 16 for a $3.825 million bonus in July 2017.

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