Over the past few years the political situation in Venezuela and its relations with the US have deteriorated. This has had a dramatic influence on baseball in the country as teams have pulled out one by one from the country both for convenience (most top players are appearing at showcases in Dominican Republic) and safety. This week Venezuela has announced that it will require visas for US tourists to enter the country, this includes American baseball scouts and executives. Today, Jon Morosi reported that the Mariners were pulling out of Venezuela leaving only four remaining teams, the Tigers, Phillies, Cubs, and Rays.
The Phillies have long had a strong tie in Venezuela and many of their recent major signings have come out of the country (including Carlos Carrasco, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Carlos Tocci, Yoel Mecias, Ricardo Pinto, Arquimedes Gamboa, Daniel Brito, Lenin Rodriguez, Willians Astudillo). It remains to be seen how long the Phillies will be able to keep this connection, but for now they will be keeping their academy there and operating as business as usual. The Phillies do have an academy in the Dominican Republic as well.