A few people have inquired as to the status of Ugueth Urbina and the possibility of him rejoining the team to bolster the bullpen. I’m afraid to say that things are not looking good for Mr. Urbina let alone his relationship with the Phillies. Last week a Venezuelan judge denied the reliever’s request to be released from prison pending his trial on attempted murder charges. Urbina has been in jail since December when the court determined that the prosecution’s evidence was sufficient to warrant a case. And the longer he remains in prison the lower his chances are of coming out unscathed, according to a recent article in the Economist:
Venezuela’s jails, say prison-reform groups, have long been among the worst. On an average day, at least one prisoner dies violently, the result of overcrowding, the availability of drugs and guns, and a poorly trained and understaffed prison service. “If you don’t have a chuzo (a handmade knife), you can’t survive in prison,” said Jesús Adirio Quiroz, an inmate.
Unfortunately, it seems that Uggie will be there a while. There appears little likelihood of settling the case out of court. Victim Ricardo Osal recently stated, "What we want is justice, for him to pay with jail time. We’re not looking for any type of financial arrangement." So the case is definitely going to trial, but even if Urbina is acquitted he may still have an extended stay in jail prior to the opening arguments. The right to a speedy trial does not seem to be on the top of the Venezuelan Bill of Rights as no trial date has been set as of yet.
Thus the uncertainty of when Urbina will, if ever, return to the United States and in what mental and physical state does not lend itself to a deal Pat Gillick is likely to become involved in.