Phillies reliever Victor Arano may not be able to make it back this year, though the club isn’t yet ruling out that possibility. Skipper Gabe Kapler told reporters, including Matt Gelb of The Athletic (via Twitter), that Arano’s rehab will require a layoff of at least ten to twelve weeks after his recent elbow surgery.
That timeline leaves only the narrowest of openings for a 2019 return for the 24-year-old right-hander. The most optimistic scenario would see Arano cleared to pick up a baseball in mid-August. He’d still need to begin a throwing program and build up his arm strength thereafter, all without experiencing any setbacks.
Though the Phils can still hope for the best, they’ll ultimately need to approach the summer trade period on the assumption that Arano is not going to make it back this year. While it was known already that he’d miss some time, the extent of the damage wasn’t clear.
Arano may not be a household name, but he’s a quality reliever who delivered big value on a league-minimum salary. Through 74 2/3 MLB frames, he carries a 2.65 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. He sits at a sturdy but unexceptional 94 mph but carries a smooth 16.6% swinging-strike rate owing to an excellent and oft-utilized slider.
Today’s news is only the latest blow to an increasingly battered and bruised Phillies bullpen. Rare is the contender that doesn’t consider mid-season relief upgrades, but this club seems in particular need of some pen acquisitions. It has been a middle-of-the-road unit to this point of the season, with a nice showing from Hector Neris in the closer’s role and mostly passable efforts otherwise, but there’s ample uncertainty with regard to some of the key veterans and more promising young arms.