Maikel Franco, four other players sell stock in their future earnings

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Last year, Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney became the first Major League Baseball player to sign a contract with a company called Fantex. Fantex’s business: selling stock, more or less, in atheltes’ future earnings. The company paid Heaney — who was making the major league minimum at the time — $3.34 million in exchange for a 10% stake in Heaney’s future “brand income.” Investors could then buy shares of a stock from Fantex linked to Heaney’s future earnings.

Yesterday, Fantex announced a handful of new indexed players: Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey and Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte.

As I wrote when Heaney did this last year, these deals work like an insurance policy that pays out now. At the moment these guys don’t make a ton of money and if they get hurt or flame out it’s a nice way to secure their future. If they do flame out and get highly-paid, sure, it’s gonna cost them a bit. A gamble, then, just as a lot of financial decisions athletes make are gambles.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.