Cabrera remained on the big-league roster all season, even after some unsightly outings, because of his lack of Minor League options. The Indians didn't want to risk losing him to the waivers process. But with the team in contention and relievers such as Jensen Lewis and Ed Mujica performing well, the club ran out of room for the right-hander.
A frustrated Cabrera said he hopes to get another chance in the big leagues.
"I trust in myself and what I can do in this game," he said. "Nobody's going to take that from my mind."
Opportunities were scarce for Cabrera the last two months. In June and July, he made a total of just 10 appearances, as the Indians tried to straighten out his command issues behind the scenes.
"It's hard," Cabrera said of that arrangement. "But the good thing is, even when that happens, I feel I can do a good job. I had one bad outing."
The outing Cabrera points to as the "bad" one is the one he had against the White Sox on July 16, when he let two inherited runners score, then gave up four runs of his own in just one-third of an inning of work.
But Cabrera's struggles went beyond that one appearance. He walked 16 batters over his last 17 innings, and gave up seven runs on 15 hits over his last nine games.
At 25, Cabrera still has time to sort out his issues. The Indians stuck with him because of his raw, upper-90s fastball. They still remember what he did at the end of the 2005 season, when he was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo and put up a 1.47 ERA in 15 big-league outings, and they hope to sneak him through waivers to get him back to Buffalo.
"We'll see what happens," Cabrera said. "There are 29 other teams, and everybody's looking for pitching."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.