BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are expected to tender a contract to all nine of their arbitration-eligible players in advance of Monday night's 11:59 ET deadline, including outfielder Nolan Reimold who has missed most of the past two seasons with a pair of neck surgeries.
Reimold, who is progressing well in his offseason rehab, is part of a group that also includes closer Jim Johnson, catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Chris Davis, outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce, relievers Brian Matusz, Troy Patton and Tommy Hunter, and starter Bud Norris.
While most of the decisions are no-brainers, Reimold and Johnson are interesting cases. Johnson is projected to make more than $10 million in arbitration on the heels of his second consecutive 50-save season, despite blowing nine games in 2013. The right-hander's salary is a sizable chunk of the Orioles' payroll and, unsurprisingly, news emerged on Monday that his stay in Baltimore could be short-lived as FoxSports.com tweeted that the organization was trying hard to trade Johnson.
One of the reported teams of interest is the deep-pocket Dodgers, who could absorb that salary and free up payroll for the O's to make a move on the free-agent market. It's important to note that with nine arbitration-eligible players, and some due a significant raise, the Orioles' payroll would already be close to $90 million even if they filled the rest of the big league roster at the league minimum rate.
If the Orioles are going to address some of their holes -- namely designated hitter, left field and the rotation -- via free agency, freeing up some payroll would obviously allow them to explore some better options.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.