Could he pitch in the majors?
Link, who’s been around long enough so that he was once traded for Rob Mackowiak, started 2013 as the Tides’ closer. He didn’t pitch poorly, but other right-handed relief pitchers — especially Oscar Villarreal and Pat Neshek — pitched better and he lost his job. He got caught in a numbers crunch and was released in June. The Marlins picked him up in July and he pitched pretty well in limited duty. He was declared a free agent after the season.
There’s no reason to think that he couldn’t pitch fairly well in a low-leverage middle-relief role. He’s too hittable to think that he could stick in a more important role.
The Orioles sent four pitchers — all experienced right-handed relief candidates who had signed minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training — to their minor-league camp. Jon Link, Oscar Villareal, Miguel Socolovich, and Willie Eyre have all add success at the AA and AAA levels; Villareal even has had some major-league success, back in 2006-7 with the Braves. Although all four are candidates to be with the Tides in 2012, the Orioles may also choose to release them, either at the pitcher’s own request (if they think they’ll have a better shot in another organization) or because the Orioles just don’t have room for all of them. Eyre may be the most likely to stay with the Orioles organization and end up in Norfolk, just because he spent some time with the Orioles in 2011.