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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Rays sign potential Wander Franco replacement

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The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be moving forward without Wander Franco.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Rays are signing veteran infielder Amed Rosario to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Passan notes that Rosario is strong against left-handed pitching and should see playing time at shortstop, second base, and possibly at corner outfield spots.

Rosario, 28, hit .263 with a .683 OPS last season between the Cleveland Guardians and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to his bat, Rosario is a speedster who has stolen double-digit bases in every season since 2018 and led Major League Baseball in triples during the 2022 campaign.

It would not be a surprise to see Rosario get most of his run at shortstop next season. That is the position that has been vacated by Franco, who looks like his MLB career may be over amid an alleged inappropriate relationship with a minor in his native Dominican Republic.

Taylor Walls, a career .189 hitter, and Jose Caballero, who batted .221 as a rookie last season, are the best current options at short for the Rays (with exciting young prospect Junior Caminero looking like a strong long-term play at the position but one who is set to begin 2024 in the minors).

Rosario will immediately become the most seasoned shortstop on the Rays roster and should do well as a one-year bridge while Caminero gets ready.

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