With some of the other things going on surrounding the Baltimore Orioles, I neglected to report last week that the Orioles signed left fielder Nolan Reimold for 2013. Reimold was never not going to be a part of the organization, however him and the Orioles agreeing on a salary of $1 million for the season means that they avoid having to go to arbitration. Reimold only played in 16 games last season due to back issues, and he remains a question mark injury-wise going into 2013. He only made $490,000 last season, so this will in effect double his salary.
We’re starting to get to the point in the off season where teams might start looking at who might have to go to arbitration. The remaining players that are arbitration-eligible for the O’s are Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Brian Matusz, Troy Patton, Tommy Hunter, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson, and Darren O’Day. To me the ones that stand out are Hammel, Johnson, and Wieters. I’m the first one to tell you that I’m NOT a fan of the arbitration process for the most part. In effect the player shows up to argue he’s worth a certain salary, while the team tries to argue that he’s worth less than that. It just comes across to me as a very counter-productive process.
Last year the O’s went to arbitration with Brad Bergesen, and in that case I did feel like he as a player had no reason to think he should have gotten more than what the Orioles offered him. But Dan Duquette was also prepared to go to arbitration with Adam Jones, however they came to an agreement the day before the hearing. Of the three big names I mentioned above, Wieters is the one that should concern Orioles fans the most. Wieters will be on the team one way or the other, however if I were the Orioles I’d offer the guy $3-$5 million right now and see if they can’t come to an agreement to avoid the whole process. Wieters is also represented by Scott Boras, who’s had a frosty relationship with the Orioles in the past. The last thing the Orioles want to do is to further alienate Boras, and then when it comes time for Wieters to be a free agent there’s little to no consideration of him staying with the Orioles.
Going back to Reimold, he’s expected to compete with Nate McLouth in spring training for the starting nod in left field. However I suspect that we’ll see both guys over the course of the season in left, as well as potentially at DH. However keep in mind that prior to his back problems, Reimold had his achilles repaired following the 2009 season. So his health is far from a sure thing. This is one aspect of the DH that I like in that if you have a player such as Reimold that you think could be a bit of an injury risk you can stick him at DH so at least he’s only swinging the bat and running. Needless to say it’ll be interesting to see how that position battle plays out during Grapefruit League play.