It's been a challenging year for Ranger Suárez, which started with injury issues. Due to a combination of tightness and then inflammation in his left forearm, his regular season didn't begin until mid-May.
No one denies Suárez has talent, with him being particularly lethal versus left-handed batters. However, there have long been questions about his ability to be more consistent.
Along these lines, the 27-year-old is on course to have his least-productive year since becoming a regular starter in 2021. This is particularly highlighted by a 1.430 WHIP, to go along with a 4.01 ERA.
In respect of the ERA, it might not sound too bad, but Suárez has only had one good month, with a 1.08 ERA in five starts during June. This is sandwiched between two poor ERAs, with 7.13 in four outings during May and 6.11 in five appearances during July.
It's not all been bad for the Venezuela native, who previously had issues with his location. This is best exemplified by his walks-per-nine-innings of 2.8 in 2021, 3.4 last year and 3.2 so far in 2023.
Further, we are also still talking about the same pitcher who was lights out in Game 3 of last year's World Series. Suárez showed his stuff during 5.2 innings against the Astros, allowing just four hits, one walk and no runs, while striking out five.
We're not claiming it would have been an easy choice to part company with the southpaw. However, with his aforementioned talent, there arguably would have been just enough to entice a team to offer a return package worth accepting.
The case would have been helped even further, when considering Suárez's contract situation. With two more years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a unrestricted free agent in 2026, this would have provided decent club control for someone.