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Cabrera's future with O's up in air

Cabrera's future with O's up in air

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LAS VEGAS -- The deadline drew one day closer, but the Orioles still haven't reached a decision on Daniel Cabrera.

The club has until Friday at midnight ET to decide whether to offer a contract to Cabrera. If Baltimore doesn't, the hulking right-hander will become a free agent one year ahead of schedule. If the O's do, they may wind up going to arbitration.

Andy MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations, said Thursday that he's still trying to make a decision. Cabrera, although erratic, remains one of the most experienced starters in the Orioles' organization.

"We've had one discussion already," said MacPhail. "I will definitely talk to them, one way or the other, tomorrow."

Baltimore has just one starter penciled into next year's rotation and is trying to add at least two veterans by trade or free agency this offseason. Jeremy Guthrie remains the only surefire member of the starting staff, and Baltimore must decide whether Cabrera is a replaceable asset or one that's worth one last shot at trying to salvage his potential.

Cabrera has made at least 26 starts in each of the past five seasons, and he's logged at least 140 innings in each of those campaigns. The 27-year-old started relatively strong in 2008, jumping out of the gates to a 6-5 record and a 4.33 ERA in the first half of the season. After the All-Star break, however, he was 2-5 with a 7.59 mark.

And still, the overall numbers represented an improvement on his previous season. Cabrera went 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA in 2008 and snapped a two-year streak of leading the league in walks. One year earlier, he went 9-18 with a 5.55 ERA.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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