In three starts during the winter league regular season, Cabrera walked six and struck out six in 14 innings. He finished the regular season with a 1-0 record and 1.29 ERA.
Cabrera allowed two earned runs in five innings during the Dec. 14 game against Aguilas. He would have suffered the loss, but his team rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn a 4-3 victory. In his other two starts during the regular season - Dec. 5 and Dec. 19 - Cabrera did not give up any runs.
In his first postseason start on Dec. 29, Cabrera walked four and struck out five in six innings pitched. Despite the four free passes, Cabrera did not allow a run in the game.
His good fortunes wouldn't last any longer though. In his next start on Jan. 4, Cabrera failed to make it out of the third inning. In 2.2 innings, he walked four and gave up two runs on three hits.
Cabrera's final start of the playoffs was even worse. In 1.2 innings, he walked four and gave up two runs. So, instead of getting stronger as the winter league season progressed, Cabrera got worse.
When will he finally be able to harness his potential and cut down on the number of free passes? Will it ever happen?
In my opinion, Cabrera's wildness can work to his advantage if he can learn to pick his spots to throw out of the strike zone.
What is this potential that people are still sadly hung up on? He has a live arm -- there is a giant freakin' graveyard of professional pitchers that had a live arm and were never worth a damn because they could not keep the ball over the plate.
This isn't rocket science. And Cabrera cannot just learn to "pick his spots to throw out of the strike zone." The guy can't pick his spots to throw in the strike zone.
They compare him to Carlos Zambrano. It's not there outside of the fact that Zambrano also walks 100 batters a year. Zambrano is able to get guys out in ways other than the strikeout, which totally failed Cabrera last season as his K-rate dipped. Without the strikeout, he had no way to consistently get batters out. He held batters to a .235 average in 2005 and .241 in 2006; that jumped to .265 last year. He's at .251 for his career.
Zambrano's numbers? Well, we'll just count 2003-present, when he's been a full-time member of the Cubs rotation. .239, .225, .212, .208 and .233 last season, when he slumped a bit.
Zambrano is a pitcher sort of like Cabrera, I guess, except he's very good. Cabrera is a pitcher sort of like Zambrano except he's very bad.
Josh Towers isn't Greg Maddux, and Daniel Cabrera isn't Carlos Zambrano, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, or Bobby Witt.
We have debated Cabrera as much as any player for the last three years in this community. But I cannot stress this enough anymore. He's a really bad pitcher, has actually gotten worse over time, and at this point, he looks like a waste of a spot on the 25-man roster. Would a good or even decent franchise have stuck with this guy for so long? We could've let Denny Bautista do this, and he struggles just to stick around on major league rosters.