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Orioles decline to offer Cabrera contract

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles have evidently given up
on waiting for right-hander Daniel Cabrera to live up to his
potential.

The Orioles declined Friday to offer the arbitration-eligible
starter a contract for 2009, making him a free agent.

Cabrera, 26, went 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA this year -- his fourth
straight losing season. The 6-foot-7 pitcher went 12-8 as a rookie
in 2004 but lost 38 games over the past three years, including 18
in 2007.

He has a career record of 48-59 with a 5.05 ERA.

Cabrera was signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican
Republic in 1999. The Orioles thought they had a star after his
impressive rookie season in the big leagues, but Cabrera never
ended up mastering the strike zone and often turned one mistake
into another, leading to a big inning.

Cabrera unveiled a changeup last season and on May 20 was 5-1
with a 3.48 ERA. But he began to decline from that point, and
failed to go more than six innings in his 11 of his last 12 starts.

In 2008, Cabrera lead the American League with 15 wild pitches
and 18 hit batters. He finished second with 90 walks and served a
six-game suspension for intentionally throwing at New York's Alex
Rodriguez.

The Orioles also failed to offer a contract to reliever Lance
Cormier, who was 3-3 with a 4.02 ERA in 45 games this year.