It’s too soon for O’s to give up on Nolan Reimold

Nolan Reimold has never played a full season in an Orioles uniform or had more than 358 at-bats. He has just one more chance before his 30th birthday.

That’s right. Reimold turned 29 on Oct. 12, and that makes him older than Matt Wieters and Adam Jones. He is a month older than Nick Markakis, a player that has 4,055 career at-bats to his 808.

Is it possible that at the age of 29, the Orioles still can’t be sure exactly what they have in Reimold? They need to see what he could do with a full season’s worth of at-bats, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to get them and show his stuff.

Last season, Reimold went on the disabled list May 1 and underwent surgery on June 25. Neck spasms led to a herniated disc which led to surgery and now Reimold hopes he can be a full go by spring training.

With several health issues since his rookie year in 2009, Reimold is reaching the point where the club can’t count on him moving forward. But he still also seems to be at the point where they are not ready to give up on his potential.

Reimold began the 2012 season with a red-hot bat. Over 16 games, until his latest injury, he hit .313 with six doubles, five homers, 10 RBIs, a .627 slugging percentage and OPS of .960. He hit five homers in a six-game span from April 13-20. He went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position. He did all that batting leadoff, if anyone can even remember that. But it was Reimold atop the order when the year began.

In his career, Reimold has an on-base percentage of .338, a slugging average of .455 and a .794 OPS. Only three O’s regulars bettered that OPS last season with Adam Jones at .839, Nick Markakis at .834 and Chris Davis at .827.

To me, there is no question Reimold has the tools and talent to be a major force in the O’s lineup. You have to wonder what it would look like if he could stay on the field.

How should the O’s look at Reimold now: As a promising player that will finally live up to his potential in 2013, or an injury risk that has to prove his health before he gets a real chance with the club? What is your take on Reimold and his Orioles future?

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