There has been a lot of talk around Birdland regarding Nolan Reimold's "unfair" placement at AAA Norfolk after he had such a fantastic rookie campaign two seasons ago and a very good spring training this year. Dempsey's Army gives a near daily Twitter update of how long Reimold has been "in exile." Our own Andrew_G currently has the signature, "Free Nolan Reimold!" The examples go on, but has Reimold lived up to the justification of such outrage so far?
(Before I go any further, I know it's been only thirteen games. Don't even say small sample size to me. If I have to wait until whenever the time passes that something isn't a small sample size this blog will be dead for half the year. I'm just talking about how he's done to this point.)
In thirteen games this season, Reimold has exactly one multi-hit game. He has no doubles and two home runs. He has only taken a walk in three games (twice he walked twice, giving him a total of 5). His hitting line is .200/.308/.333.
During the off-season, my thoughts on the matter were that he did have a terrible 2010 and it wouldn't hurt for him to prove himself at the minor league level before being handed a major league job. With Felix Pie being the only player standing in his way, it made sense. If Reimold really was tearing up the league in AAA, the Orioles wouldn't allow Felix Pie to be the one to block him (unless Pie was doing an outstanding job at the big league level, in which case I'd be happy to have such problems).
But things changed when the Orioles signed Vladimir Guerrero. Now, nothing short of an injury or a mid-season trade is going to give Reimold a chance to get promoted. I understand that's where the indignation comes from, and to an extent I understand. Vlad won't help the team long term, Reimold might, and whenever he's ready, he'll be stuck at AAA.
The truth is, Nolan Reimold hasn't done anything to deserve a major league job. He had a good 2009? That was two years ago. He had a good Spring Training? So did Jake Fox, does anyone think he deserves to be the starting catcher?
I like Reimold a lot, and I really want him to succeed. Hopefully as the AAA season continues he picks up the pace and begins to play the like Reimold we all want him to be. Because there WILL be injuries, and there could be trades. Reimold will get his chance, and hopefully when the time comes he's done something to earn it.