There is no telling when, or if, Wander Franco will return to the Tampa Bay Rays. However, he may be appearing on the diamond sooner than anyone expected.
According to Hector Gomez, the Leones del Escogido are willing to talk with Franco about playing in the Dominican Winter League. His being placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, and the investigations in the Dominican Republic and US, do not mean he cannot suit up in the LIDOM if he is so inclined.
Tampa Bay Rays pariah Wander Franco may be back soon
Such an arrangement could make sense for both sides. Franco would be able to get back into baseball shape after missing the last month of the season. Escogido sold out the five games that Franco appeared in during the 2020-21 season. Even with his legal issues, he is an otherworldly talent on the diamond, one that could make an impact for whatever team he suits up for.
Franco has proven himself on the diamond. He had become one of the top young players in the majors before his legal woes. He was on the cusp of superstardom, the lynchpin for the Rays hopes moving forward. In fact, one could argue that losing him from the lineup was a key factor in their unceremonious playoff ouster.
This does not mean that Franco will return stateside. If the allegations are substantiated, and charges are filed, he could be looking at a great deal of prison time. Even if he avoids jail, Franco has a work visa which could be denied due to the nature of the allegations. His major league future is still in question even if he plays for Escogido.
Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco could suit up for the Leones del Escogido. That does not mean a major league return is eminent.