It’s a spillover. Tampa Bay, which had started the season 27-6, including a 13-game winning streak through its first 13 games, went into a tailspin. The Rays lost their ace, then their center fielder, then both of their top two hitters in quick succession.
After going 8-16 in July, the Rays needed to rebound in August, but lefty starter Shane McLanahan complained of left forearm soreness after a game against the New York Yankees on Aug. 3. The forearm was an ominous sign, as it’s a precursor to an elbow injury.
McLanahan was placed on the disabled list. The news from Tampa Bay head coach Kevin Cash was grim. After seeing multiple doctors, McLanahan was ruled out for the season.
Getting as many opinions as possible means that the player is in bad shape. “We’re looking at all options for the elbow,” Cash said. And just today, news broke that McLanahan will undergo Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament reconstruction). This is the second Tommy John surgery for McLanahan, who already underwent one in college, and the stakes are higher. It’s unclear if he’ll be back next season.
Tampa Bay has been plagued by starting pitching injuries lately. Starting with Shane Baz’s Tommy John surgery last September, Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen, both of whom were outstanding early on, had their seasons cut short by surgery (Springs’ Tommy John and Rasmussen’s elbow). The return of Tyler Glasnow and the addition of Aaron Servalli seemed to provide some breathing room, but the loss of McLachlanahan left the team with a power leak. There are a number of alternatives, but there is no substitute for McLanahan.
When the mound is weak, the bats need to step up. Tampa Bay’s July struggles also stemmed from the offense. Their 87 runs scored in the month of July were last in the league and 29th in the majors. Even with a strong mound, an average of 3.7 runs per month isn’t going to win you many games.
Fewest runs scored in July
93 – Pittsburgh
92 – Colorado
87 – Tampa Bay
83 – San Francisco
*Highest scoring team: Chicago Cubs (150 runs)
The key for Tampa Bay in August was the bats. They didn’t add any offense during the trade deadline, so they really needed their existing players to step up. But yesterday, something disappointing happened.
Wander Franco is the player Tampa Bay has labeled as the team’s present and future. They gave him a massive 11-year, $182 million contract right after his first season in 2021. He was limited to 83 games last year due to injury, but this year he has been in great form, making his first All-Star season. He even hit his first career grand slam against the Cleveland Indians on April 12.
AL Fielding Wins Above Replacement (Baseball Reference)
5.5 – Shohei Ohtani
5.5 – Wander Franco
5.4 – Marcus Simeon
5.0 – Corey Seager
*Fangraphs.com Wins Above Replacement 4.7 (4th in league)
Franco was washing away the disappointment of a .202 batting average in July with a .415 batting average (17-for-41) in August, but we’re not seeing that anymore. I don’t even know when we’ll see it again.
Franco was accused of inappropriate relationships with minors on social media. Testimonies have come forward to corroborate the allegations. Initially, Cash explained Franco’s absence from Monday’s game as “just resting,” but when the story broke, he admitted that he “had an inkling” about the situation.
Franco vigorously denied the allegations. According to the Tampa Bay Times, a Tampa Bay area outlet, Franco took to social media to say that people don’t know the truth. He dismissed the stories about him as rumors. Someone not caught on camera supported Franco’s innocence, saying, “People always want to get paid.”
Regardless of Franco’s claims, Tampa Bay placed him on the restricted list. The restricted list lists players who are unable to play due to non-baseball issues. Last year, the Rays placed a number of players on the restricted list during a series against the Toronto Blue Jays when unvaccinated players were not allowed to enter Canada. Mental issues, such as nervousness, are also covered. This year, Austin Meadows and Daniel Bard were placed on the restricted list for these reasons (the specific reasons are sometimes not disclosed for privacy reasons).
Franco could, in principle, return for next week’s home game against the Colorado Rockies. However, that could be extended depending on the outcome of the investigation. Meanwhile, a restricted list is similar to an administrative leave, but there are differences. While an administrative leave preserves a player’s salary and service time, a restricted list does not obligate a team to do so. However, Tampa Bay agreed to place Franco on the restricted list and still pay him his salary.
Franco has been in the news this season for friction with his teammates. He missed several games due to his emotional outbursts and sloppy play during games, which hurt the team’s atmosphere. Yandy Dias publicly stated that he “hopes he learns from this situation” and cautioned him to mature, but it wasn’t long before he got into trouble again and the criticism level increased.
It’s unclear if Franco will ever return. There have also been allegations that he may have been involved with more than one minor. While no case is exactly like Franco’s, players with similar stories have been banned from the league.온라인카지노
Even if he was cleared in court, he would still face discipline from the commissioner’s office, which treats such cases harshly. Even if he’s cleared, Franco will be viewed unfavorably. Public opinion will not be favorable. This complicates things for Tampa Bay, which has him under contract through 2032. If Franco is not guilty, the Rays will have to honor his contract.
The fast rise of a 20-year-old prospect has led to the fast fall of a 22-year-old All-Star. A quick debut for a 20-year-old prospect led to a quick fall for a 22-year-old All-Star. Left to deal with the aftermath of Franco’s fall, one wonders if Tampa Bay will be able to erase his shadow.