BRADENTON, Fla. -- Yes, that 6-foot-7 right-hander spotted walking around Pirate City is Daniel Cabrera, the former Baltimore Oriole whose once-meteoric career fizzled just as quickly.Cabrera is a late entry among the non-roster invitees to camp, signed to a Minor League contract on Feb. 18. The Dominican native, 30, spent 2011 recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. Most recently, Cabrera pitched in the Angels' farm system in 2010. Cabrera has not appeared in the Majors since six games with the D-backs in 2009. "We've always liked the arm; wanted to give him another shot at getting back," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.
Cabrera had an erratic batting-practice session Monday. He is tentatively scheduled to pitch in Friday's intrasquad game.Cabrera went 12-8 as a 22-year-old with Baltimore in 2004, when he finished third in voting for American League Rookie of the Year, and he followed that up with 10 more wins in '05. On Sept. 28, 2006, Cabrera took a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. Robinson Cano broke up the gem with a one-out single, then Cabrera got Bobby Abreu to ground into a game-ending double play. Since that career peak, Cabrera has gone 17-34 with a 5.48 ERA. The Pirates are the fourth different team to offer a chance to revive his career, following Arizona, Washington and the Angels.
Outfielder McCutchen among unsigned Bucs
BRADENTON, Fla. -- As an overall young team with little relative experience, the majority of players on the Pirates' 40-man roster are not yet signed to 2012 contracts.The exceptions are Pedro Alvarez (entering the final year of the five-year deal he signed soon after being drafted in 2008), Jose Tabata (signed to a six-year extension last August), A.J. Burnett (two years remaining on his pact) and players who were signed as free agents (Kevin Correia on a two-year deal last winter, Clint Barmes, Erik Bedard, Rod Barajas, Nate McLouth) or were eligible for salary arbitration (Jason Grilli, Chris Resop, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Charlie Morton and Casey McGehee settled, while Garrett Jones went through a hearing and lost). The other players have until March 11 to negotiate terms. By that date, all unsigned Major League players will have their contract renewed at their club's chosen terms. "It's really not negotiable," Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said with candor, referring to the lack of leverage for pre-arbitration players. "There is a system in place, based on variables such as service time and performance, and the salaries are based on those variables. If it comes to that, the player has to accept the renewal." Generally, it has been to a player's financial benefit to sign, rather than be renewed. The historical trend is for clubs to execute renewals at salaries lower than the last offers on the table. The Pirates' highest-profile player affected is center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who earned $453,000 during his 2011 All-Star season and was not yet eligible for salary arbitration. McCutchen is known to have turned down multiyear offers prior to both of the last two seasons, and the club did not present him with a revised offer this winter.
A Rolex watch? Fishing lessons? So mundane. When A.J. Burnett asked Daniel McCutchen what kind of reward he'd like for relinquishing his No. 34, McCutchen said, "How about a college fund for my daughter?" And Burnett said, "OK," and wrote a check to open a College America 529 savings account for her.McCutchen will have to sit on that check a little longer. A social security number is required to activate a 529 account -- and Sarah and Daniel McCutchen's first child hasn't yet been born. She expects to deliver next month. Camp population swelled considerably Monday morning as early arrivals to the Pirates' Minor League camp began to stream in, undergoing physicals and light workouts. Manager Clint Hurdle has yet to announce the pitching assignments for Friday's intrasquad game -- the only one the Pirates will hold prior to Saturday's Grapefruit League opener -- but, according to the ongoing batting-practice schedule, Gerrit Cole is one of the pitchers due to throw that day. Other pitchers whose turn would come up on Friday are Daniel Cabrera, Daniel Moskos, Bryan Morris, Duke Welker, Jared Hughes and Michael Crotta.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.