Take this as two signs of the success and fame Rays rookie Wander Franco already has achieved at age 20.
First, that he bought a new Mercedes-Benz car and had it customized to include diamonds in the steering wheel.
Second, that news of his purchase was first reported as an “exclusive” on the TMZ.com celebrity news site.
The car, per TMZ, is a Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53. The customization included an all-white interior with Franco’s El Patron nickname on the floor next to the driver’s seat and “a steering wheel decked out in diamonds.” The cost of the car and the work was about $235,000.
The detail of the custom makeover included replacing all the interior surfaces with soft white glove leather, including the floors, and stitching it with blue thread, per an Instagram post from The Auto Spa in Fairfield, Conn., which did the work. The exterior was wrapped in satin vanilla frost with all chrome taken off.
Franco, 20, does have an affinity for fancy cars. In spring training 2020, he was driving a Lamborghini to and from the Port Charlotte complex. When called up to the majors in June, he pulled into the Tropicana Field parking lot in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV.
“Wander is the biggest car enthusiast I’ve met,” Nick Drbal, identified as Franco’s business partner, told TMZ.com. “He has every car possible right now. When he said he wanted something different, we had to get clever.”
Franco, a native of the Dominican Republic, hit .288 with seven homers, 39 RBIs and an .810 OPS over 70 games while compiling a 43-game on-base streak and playing impressive defense at shortstop. In the four-game American League Division Series, he batted .368 with two homers, four RBIs and a 1.158 OPS.
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