Up front disclaimer: I am a big fan of Nolan Reimold. I do not believe there is another player in the entire Orioles organization with as much big number potential as there is in Reimold. I do acknowledge the problems, however.
The Orioles 2012 starting left fielder has popped out of exile, being featured in various recent blogs and articles on a number of Orioles outlets. Along with it being the season of the year to begin speculations about a 2013 lineup, Reimold’s reinstatement last week from the 60-day DL to the 40-man roster has brought his name again to the front burner. As well, Nate McLouth served the team well in the final stretch of the year, raising the question of whether to seek to re-sign him.
Comment boards on the various sites where these articles have been written involve 0’s fans taking a range of positions – though most would opt for having both of them and letting a decision play itself out. Some support Reimold and the optimistic hope that at long last his physical problems will be behind him. Others are ready to give up on his ability to ever be healthy enough to return and be dependable. McLouth has supporters and detractors – the faction wanting to retain him encouraged by his short-term and truly excellent numbers with the Birds, his detractors still troubled by the long-term numbers of the past three years.
I am going to state two things here: what I think will happen (realistic), and what I would like to see happen (unrealistic).
What I think will happen is that the Orioles will certainly keep Reimold – they know the truth of the upside potential (speed, power, OBP, etc.) and they know that he has a lot of fans like me … just check out how many Reimold jerseys you see at an Orioles game. I also think they will sign McLouth – presuming it can be done for a reasonable amount, which is likely. The intriguing notion of signing Josh Hamilton to play left field is … well … out in left field metaphorically, at a minimum! The only way I could see this happen is if EVERYONE else with money is too afraid to spend it on a guy with some varied “issues” and the Orioles are alone willing to take a flyer on him.
What I would like to see happen is also more than just “a bit out in left field.” Actually, it is all the way in at first base. I know this sounds bizarre; I realize nobody else is talking about this – so it is probably totally stupid (even though I’m certain I’m right!). So … sign McLouth and use Reimold at first base. (I personally like every one of these players by the way.) Save money by letting Mark Reynolds go. Use Chris Davis as the everyday DH and backup for first. The question is if Reimold could learn to play there. I say, “Why not?” Nolan is, if nothing else, one of the better athletes on the team. He is more purely athletic than Reynolds (whom I respect highly for his 1B defense – a coming topic within another article.) Reimold could do this, and it would get him out of left field where his litany of diving catches and crashes into walls, railings, teammates, and the turf have surely led to the numbers of injury issues he has developed.
Yes, I know Reimold just turned 29 and is actually a hair older than Nick Markakis. I know that he has never played a full season. But I also know what my baseball eye sees in him; and I saw what making him a regular player accomplished in April when Reimold batted .313/.333/.627 in 16 games for the Orioles before being placed on the DL.
Back-end disclaimer: I am a big fan of Nolan Reimold. I do not believe there is another player in the entire Orioles organization with as much big number potential as there is in Reimold. I do acknowledge the problems, however.