The Orioles have cut ties — at least temporarily — with one of their longest tenured players, designating outfielder Nolan Reimold for assignment Tuesday.
The club now has 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on Reimold, who has been attempting to return from two neck surgeries, one in each of the past two years.
Reimold had been playing at Double-A Bowie, but his 20-day minor league rehab assignment ended Sunday. The Orioles had to decide by Tuesday whether to add Reimold to the 25-man roster, but with the right-handed left fielder-designated hitter roles filled by Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce and Delmon Young, there was no obvious spot.
So the Orioles removed Reimold from the 60-day disabled list and designated him for assignment. The most likely scenario is that the Orioles put him on waivers during the 10-day period — it is a confidential procedure — and teams then would have 48 hours to claim him.
“The club hopes to get this resolved in a couple days,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said.
If a team claims Reimold, that club must pick up what remains on his $1.025 million salary this season, which is just under $500,000. Reimold cannot reject the waiver claim.
If he passes through waivers, the Orioles can outright Reimold to the minor leagues. Reimold’s only recourse would be to elect free agency, but he would have to forfeit the remainder of his guaranteed salary and look for a new job. That doesn’t seem likely.
The Orioles also could ask release waivers on Reimold, meaning if he cleared, he automatically would become a free agent. But that seems highly unlikely since the Orioles want to keep Reimold in their system. Therefore, the most likely resolutions are that Reimold gets claimed by another team or returns to the Orioles in the minor leagues.
The Orioles selected Reimold in the second round of the 2005 draft out of Bowling Green. He emerged as one of the organization’s best prospects and batted .279 with 15 homers in 104 major league games as a rookie in 2009.
That season was cut short by a left Achilles injury that eventually required surgery, beginning a trend of physical problems that hampered Reimold’s considerable talent. He lost almost all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons because of neck and disk issues that required cervical spine fusion surgeries.
Reimold returned to the club for this year’s spring training, but he stayed in Sarasota, Fla., in April and May to rehab. He had spent the majority of June at Bowie, hitting .315 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .420 on-base percentage.