Not only because they’ll almost certainly ignore that the Rays manipulated Franco’s service time to ensure he won’t escalate his salary to its fullest possible level in the years to come (thread here) — sneaky Rays! — but also because he should’ve been a Yankee, dammit.
We’ll bet you didn’t know the Yanks had all their ducks in a row to sign Franco back in 2016 before he became their newest rival’s savior.
We certainly didn’t, which is weird, considering most Yankee fans can rattle off a 10-minute list of every time they’ve been slighted at the drop of a hat.
Right when the T’s were to be crossed while the I’s were dotted, MLB’s new CBA was agreed upon, which effectively capped the Yankees’ spending internationally and forced them to rip up a basically-done Franco deal.
Now it’s Wander Vision in Tampa, and the AL East might be hanging in the balance. Bit of a sliding doors moment for the next two decades, huh? No biggie.
Wander Franco was almost a Yankees top prospect instead of a Rays savior.
Quoth the New York Post in mid-2019 in an article we hoped would someday be a cautionary footprint washing away in the sands, but instead seems primed to haunt the Yankees for 20 years:
"If the Yankees missed out on baseball’s next wunderkind, they have the international signing rules to blame.The Yankees were set to sign Wander Franco, one of baseball’s top prospects, out of Latin America for $6 million, ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote in a long feature detailing Franco’s rise. However, that plan was scuttled by the 2016 collective bargaining agreement, which capped international spending and allowed the Rays to sign Franco with the largest bonus in the class.A shortstop, Franco is just 18, but draws breathtaking comparisons in the story.“I saw Vladimir Guererro,” Rei Ruiz, Franco’s manager at Single-A Bowling Green said. “He had the same confidence, the same presence. But I think Wander is better.”"
Cue a bunch of Jared Carrabis knockoffs saying, “MLB never punishes the Yankees! The league’s golden boys! Bleh!!” Yeah, alright fellas.
Yes, right up until the CBA was finished, the Yanks thought they had enough money to add Franco at a $6 million price tag. Instead, their hopes were dashed, and they’ve been forced to roll with only Oswald Peraza and Jasson Dominguez. Good consolation prizes, but…Franco might be literally Mike Trout.
Hopefully, for the good of baseball, Franco rises to his projections and dominates.
Hopefully, for the good of the Yankees, next year’s CBA negotiations don’t go well and the Rays decide to cut their losses and trade him to the Diamondbacks in Year 2 to save a few more bushels of cash.