In our hearts, Nolan Reimold will always be the player who dazzled us for 104 games in the 2009 season, putting up a .279/.365/.466 slash line. In reality, he is a player who has battled personal problems and injury problems and has only played 142 games in the big leagues in the three seasons since that rookie campaign.
Though he's been back and forth between AAA, MLB and the DL since, he's still accumulated enough service time that this will be his first season where he's eligible for arbitration. The Orioles and Reimold have avoided having to go through that process by settling on a 2013 contract Friday evening. The announcement of the contract came via a press release. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported the amount of the contract, which was not included in the release: $1 million.
Reimold only played in 16 games in 2012 before being sidelined for the season by a herniated disk. He had five home runs in those 16 games, notching a .960 OPS in that admittedly small segment of the season.
With Reimold and the Orioles agreeing to terms, that still leaves the O's with eight arbitration-eligible players who have not yet agreed to contracts. Those players are: Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Brian Matusz, Troy Patton, Tommy Hunter, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson and Darren O'Day. Hammel is entering his third and final year of arbitration, while Johnson and O'Day are third-year Super 2 players, meaning they have another year of arbitration after this season. The remaining players are all entering their first year of arbitration eligibility.
Back in October, MLB Trade Rumors speculated about the 2013 salaries of the O's arbitration eligibles. Note that their prediction for Reimold was spot on at $1 million. The rest may not be exact, but they should be in the neighborhood; for instance, Taylor Teagarden was predicted at $800,000 where he and the O's actually settled for $650,000.
With Reimold, the O's are at about $59 million in payroll committed for 13 players. If arbitration goes as MLBTR predicts, they'll add another $27 million for eight players, then will be responsible for the contracts purchased and renewed for pre-arbitration players such as Manny Machado and Pedro Strop, which are likely to be between $450,000 and $500,000 apiece. Let's say that this ends up being $3 million, for a payroll of about $89 million. That's $5 million more than last season without a single big-ticket acquisition from outside the organization, and wouldn't count whatever Joe Saunders might command if he ends up re-signing with the club.
To all those who have spent the offseason wondering why the Orioles haven't opened up the pocketbook, the answer may come as arbitration figures are exchanged: significant money is going to be tied up in players they've already got.