Joe Sheehan comes down a bit harder on Andy MacPhail than I did:
Cabrera has never come close to meeting the expectations set by his talent and his performance in 2005 and 2006, when he was a strikeout/ground-ball machine who needed just an improvement in his command to become a number two starter. That improvement never came, and in chasing it, Cabrera lost what he did well and watched his strikeout rate fall to half of its peak last season, his second straight with an ERA above 5.00. The innings he threw and his service time would have led to a mid-seven-figures arbitration award, regardless.
I can almost understand the decision... almost. Cabrera has shown few signs of improvement, and will be kind of expensive for a fourth or fifth starter. At the same time, the Orioles aren't exactly deep in the rotation. They have prospects coming, and coming quickly, but the major league rotation could use some bodies. To take a pitcher who at the least has established that he can make 30 starts and who retains his upside—if little chance of getting there—and turn him loose just for want of some cash seems a little shortsighted. If this were a different team, one needing to win a lot of games in '09, or one with seven or eight starters, I would feel otherwise. Cutting loose Cabrera denies the Orioles a player they could use, and cuts them off from the chance that he could find his way back. That the Orioles, who know him as well as any team, would let him go is valuable information, but I can't help but think that Cabrera is going to have 425 soft-focus, "they didn't believe in me" features written about him next summer as he starts the year 6-1, 2.66 for a new team.