Ranger Suarez Will Be Late to Phillies Camp, Start of Season

One of the bigger storylines of the 2021 Phillies was the emergence of Ranger Suárez.  Suárez began the season with some visa issues and a minor injury.  Suárez then became a stabilizing force in the Phillies bullpen, before joining the starting rotation in August.  Suárez combined to go 8-5 with a 1.36 earned run average and four games saved.

Suárez seemed to be someone the Phillies could build around in 2022.  But it appears he will be late.

Scott Lauber of Philly.com reports that Suarez is currently in Colombia, held up with visa issues:

Ranger Suárez will be a late arrival to spring training because of a delay in obtaining his work visa, his agent said Friday. The 26-year-old left-hander, who is expected to occupy a spot in the Phillies’ starting rotation, is at risk of missing the first few weeks of the season after a camp that will already be compressed to 25 days once it opens Sunday in Clearwater, Fla.

The lockout created a mess of issues for players who live abroad, particularly in Venezuela.

Lauber reports that Suárez is in a Colombian hotel waiting to be cleared to head to the United States.  He does not have access to training facilities, which delay his progress toward the mound.  Therefore, Opening Day seems unlikely for Suárez .

The Phillies, like 29 other teams, have an incomplete roster.  The starting rotation will feature Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Kyle Gibson at the start.  But Zach Eflin remains up in the air, as he returns from a knee injury that could have him behind, too.  So the Phillies might need two additional starters to get going in 2022.

The Phillies could stretch Bailey Falter out to be a starting option.  Hans Crouse was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Gibson trade last summer, and could start some games at first, though he is probably best suited to head to Triple-A.

So the Phillies will need some starting pitching depth.  With other needs to fill, the Phillies could turn to the Matt Moore and Chase Anderson-type veterans for depth once again.  Given the large number of free agents and the short amount of time, there could be some opportunity in lower-cost, one-year deals.


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