It's official: Daniel Cabrera has pitched his last game for the Orioles. Suffice to say, Cabrera has been one of the most promising and most frustrating pitchers in all of baseball over his five year career. When he was able to throw strikes, he was dominant; his complete game one-hitter against the Yankees in his final start of 2006 was but one example of what he was capable of doing. Unfortunately, those examples were few and far between. He's never finished below third in the league in walks allowed despite only once cracking 200 IP; he finished first in both 2006 and 2007, but "improved" to second last year, largely because injuries cost him about five starts in the final two months of the season. For his career, he averaged nearly 7 K/9, but also an amazing 5.11 BB/9.
I have mixed feelings about non-tendering Cabrera. As we all know, the Orioles are missing a few links in their rotation; Jeremy Guthrie is the only player on the 40-man roster you could even pencil into the rotation, much less count on to make 30 starts. Cabrera would have been a relatively low-cost option to contibrute 180 innings. Granted, they wouldn't have been 180 particularly good innings, but at this point the Orioles don't have enough pitchers to make it through April, much less September. At somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million, a case can certainly be made that those innings, and the potential that Cabrera finally fulfills his promise, are worth the cost.
Still, as a fan, I will not miss watching Cabrera pitch every five days. The walks, the wild pitches, the atrocious defense. No more, thanks. None of that is solid, rational analysis, but it sure makes me feel better to know that whichever crappy pitchers the Orioles run out there next year, it won't be the same crappy pitchers as the last five seasons. He's always seemed like a hard worker and quality person, so I wish Daniel Cabrera well, but I do hope he doesn't win a Cy Young award with his next organization.