Orioles decline to offer Cabrera contract

Updated: December 13, 2008, 2:18 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press