Baltimore Orioles: Has Nolan Reimold’s Time Finally Arrived?


Mar 3, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold (14) during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Reimold knows what suffering is about. The Baltimore Orioles outfielder has had his share and beyond. And it is more than merely the two neck surgeries and a collection of other lesser injuries. He has suffered the loss of a dream of becoming a regular MLB player just as he had clearly arrived at that status, along with the jokes and derision from elements of an oft-cynical fanbase that saw him as too soft.

Most people in his shoes would have gone home to the wife and kids with the roughly $2 million he had made in the sport and begun a new life. But Reimold wants to play baseball, and he wants to do it in Baltimore.

Have the tides changed?  Have the sands shifted?  Is the wind finally blowing in an opposite direction now?

There may be some evidence of that. There certainly appear to be no health constraints whatsoever. Reimold is hitting with authority and diving for balls in the outfield. But most impressive is the return of his sneaky fast speed.

Buck has noticed.

Showalter has said, “This is Nolan before he got hurt … He’s playing without caution. … He might be this year’s Steve Pearce. I like what I see a lot.’

Beyond that, Showalter is back to commenting about how “you can see it on his face how good he feels.”  Pretty soon we’ll hear that he has a good look in his eye, and then we’ll know Nolan is really back all the way!

What is not to like about Reimold’s spring training so far? He is batting .333 on 10-for-30 at the plate. Beyond that, his on base percentage is a dazzling .459 with six walks. Not even the spring god named Paredes has an OBP that high (his is .417).

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I read earlier this spring where it was reported that Reimold in 2012 had the second-fastest speed in the American League from contact in the batter’s box to first base. Those who watch Orioles games closely will remember that he would beat out ground balls and turn even easy outs into surprisingly close calls.

This sort of speed is back. Reimold legged out two infield hits yesterday. And multiple sources commented on his run-scoring speed from first to home on a Caleb Joseph double.

Speed. OBP. Treasured items the Orioles need more of! Even with a .251 career average, his OBP is good at .324.  But can he stay on the field?

You gotta wonder if maybe something really has changed. The presumed-to-be most vulnerable outfielder to not break camp with the Orioles in David Lough. The former KC Royals player had the rough start last year with the concussion-like symptoms. Lough is almost certainly the most physically-fit specimen on the Baltimore Orioles. However, he is day-to-day with an injury. Probably most of you have heard how it happened – bending over to pick up a baseball.

Hey, I’ve had the same back spasms thing happen about three times in my life. And like Lough, I wasn’t doing anything at all abnormal or strenuous. Suddenly I couldn’t stand up straight. Usually this sort of freak thing happens to Nolan Reimold out of a group of 30 or 40 baseball players. But not this time.

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So could Nolan actually end up with the Orioles for opening day?  It is not impossible. He probably deserves it more based upon spring numbers than, say, Alejandro De Aza – who is 5-for-31 (.161) and not looking very good at all.

But De Aza has a big contract … as does Travis Snider … as does Delmon Young. The Orioles hate to lose anyone on a waiver claim, and since Reimold has a minor league contract it will be easier to keep Lough, Paredes, and others at the beginning of the season. Reimold can be sent to AAA and called up later as the situation demands.

I really like all of these Orioles outfielders (unlike some of the collection of utility infielders hanging around). But I’ve also always had a heart for Reimold and would love to see him achieve his potential. It would be a shame for him to get this close and get stuck in Norfolk. But then again, if he really is fully back, his play will demand he be in Baltimore. And that would be great.

Next: Who will carry the O's this year?