Wander Franco's 12-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Rays that guarantees him $182 million and could pay a maximum of $223 million is shocking in only one regard: that the Rays would make that kind of financial outlay, even to a burgeoning superstar like Franco.
It is not just the largest contract in Rays history, blowing away the six-year, $100 million extension Evan Longoria signed after the 2012 season, but easily the largest ever given to a player with less than one year of service time, topping the eight-year, $100 million contract Ronald Acuna Jr. signed with the Atlanta Braves. If Franco receives the 12th-year option, it becomes the 24th $200 million contract in major league history.
This is a franchise that since in its inception in 1998 has given out a combined $348 million in free agency, according to Cot's Contracts. Now the Rays are committing more than half that figure to just one player. It is a franchise-altering move and shows their belief that Franco will continue to build on his impressive rookie performance, when he hit .288/.347/.463 as a 20-year-old, including .338/.393/.541 over his final 33 games -- part of a stretch in which he reached base in 43 consecutive games.