Ranger Suárez set to return to Phillies rotation
The Philadelphia Phillies expect to welcome Ranger Suárez back to the rotation this upcoming weekend in Colorado. Suárez has yet to pitch for the Phillies as he has been recovering from a forearm injury.
Suárez' return will be as important to the rotation as Bryce Harper's return was to the lineup. The Phillies' starting pitching staff has struggled to begin the year. The Phillies are 11th in the National League in terms of team starting pitching ERA at 4.91. The rotation was predicted to be a much stronger part of this year's Phillies team.
Suárez will be returning after pitching two innings at Double-A Reading and seven innings at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. At Lehigh Valley, Suárez' allowed just one earned run, four hits, and one walk in those seven innings. The Phillies planned to have the left-hander stretched out to go about five innings or around 80 pitches when he makes his 2023 debut.
Suárez has been a reliable starter for the Phillies over the last two seasons. In 29 starts in 2022, Suárez pitched 155 1/3 innings with a 3.65 ERA. He was cool, calm, and collected when he took the mound. He was a vital piece for Rob Thomson in the postseason as he was used a starter and reliever.
Possible Phillies' roster moves as a result of Ranger Suarez's return
When Suárez is activated, the Phillies will have to option someone to make room on the 26-man roster. It will likely be a bullpen arm that gets sent to the minor leagues now that Matt Strahm has been moved to a relief role. While Bailey Falter has been struggling, he is likely safe for the moment.
One potential option is Luis Ortiz. Ortiz has pitched well since being called up to the Major League club in the middle of April. In ten innings pitched, Ortiz has struck out ten batters and has posted a 2.70 ERA. He has options left so he could be a potential candidate to be optioned.
Another potential option candidate is Andrew Vasquez. Vasquez has been pitching well since his call up, much like Ortiz. He has pitched sixteen innings to a 1.69 ERA. He has also shown that he has a pretty nasty breaking ball that can get left-handers out. The fact that he is a left-hander could hurt his chances of staying in the big-leagues now that Strahm— another left-hander— has moved to the bullpen.
The newly called up Jeff Hoffman could be optioned as well. He is likely to remain with the Phillies, however, because he opted out of his minor league contract and could only remain with the Phillies if they assigned him to the Major League club. The fact that the front office made room to keep him aboard signifies that they like what they have in Hoffman's arm.
At least for the time being, it would appear that the club would want to move a left-handed pitcher since they are adding another one in Suárez. It would not be surprising to Falter removed from the rotation at some point later in the season if he does not begin to pitch better. As of now, the Phillies do not have an available option that would be better. Whoever is moved to make room for Suárez will have other shots at returning to Philadelphia later on in the season.