Nolan Reimold is in the midst of a rehab assignment in Double-A Bowie. This is not a new scenario for Orioles fan to mull over. Reimold's tenure as a major-league ballplayer has been marred by injury and inconsistency in equal measure, and he's bounced among the active roster, the DL and the minor leagues like a pinball, except a very delicate pinball, which isn't a functional thing at all.
But what's new this time is that Reimold might not bounce back up to the big club. His rehab assignment will be over this weekend, at which time he must be placed on the Orioles 25-man roster or placed on waivers. If there's not an unexpected injury between now and then, it's hard to see Reimold finding a place on the Orioles, and it's even harder to see him not getting picked up by some other club who wants to roll the dice on a 30-year-old outfielder with a decent bat. So Orioles fans might see the end of Reimold in their favored uniform, without much fanfare.
The Orioles' roster is already heavy on right-handed corner outfielders, with Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce and Delmon Young all on the 25-man roster, a situation that some already see as a bit of a glut. Cruz, of course, is a given. He is not getting cut to make room for Reimold. Steve Pearce has been unexpectedly destroying the world this season, to the point where he's an everyday player right now. He's not the lock that Cruz is, but it's pretty tough to imagine him getting cut during the tear he's on.
That leaves Delmon Young. Young was initially getting most of the platoon starts over Pearce, but as Pearce forced his way into more playing time, Young has been something of the odd man out. Nonetheless, Young is serving as an adequate roleplayer, OPSing .791 and surprisingly hitting both right- and left-handed pitchers a little bit. He had a miserable month of May (.243/.263/.270), but has since bounced back and seems to be worth keeping around. He also has no known health concerns, whereas Reimold may have just gotten injured again merely from me typing "Reimold" and "injured" so many times in the same post.
All of which leads me to believe that Reimold is about to be placed on waivers, and I have a hard time imagining that no team in MLB will take a flyer on an oft-injured guy who is nonetheless a 30-year-old corner outfielder with a promise of a little pop in his bat, risking only a pro-rated $1M salary. Someone will roll the dice on that.
So this may well be the end of Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Oriole, at least unless they pick him back up in a future season. Maybe I'm wrong about this; I'm wrong a lot when I try to predict things. It happens. But if it's the end, Orioles fans are going to remember Reimold as synonymous with missed potential. That beautiful .279/.366/.466 rookie campaign in the midst of the Dark Years, man. That was something. And then it never all came together. Reimold was either flashing offensive production and unable to stay on the field, or he was struggling in a way that wounded all Orioles fans just to watch. And if he lands somewhere else, I'll root for him to succeed against all non-Orioles opponents. If I'm right, Nolan, happy trails, and please don't go bananas for another AL East ballclub.