Time for Dodgers to say a final goodbye to Charlie Haeger -- knuckleballer signs with Mariners
The Great Charlie Haeger Experiment is officially dead.
At least for the Dodgers.
Of course, it was dead back in June when the Dodgers finally shelved the knuckleballer and ultimately sent him to triple-A Albuquerque for the rest of the season.
It was made officially dead Wednesday, though, when Haeger signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners.
A rubber-armed knuckleballer apparently still has allure, at least enough so that the Mariners were willing to sign him as a minor-league free agent.
This despite Haeger's going 0-4 with an 8.40 earned-run average in nine games (six starts) with the Dodgers last season.
That was about five more games than the Dodgers probably should have gone with Haeger, who struck out 12 in his first start -- a 6-5 loss at Florida -- in what was his season highlight.
It all went quickly, and consistently, downhill after that. There was a stint on the disabled list for an injury that, at least initially, was suspect. When he returned, he appeared in two games and it was more of the same.
The Dodgers finally recognized the inevitable and designated him for assignment. The Mariners passed on him that time, as did every other team. He cleared waivers and joined Albuquerque.
Haeger didn’t exactly find much more success there (4-3, 5.70) and became a free agent at season’s end.
Personally, I hope he gets it together for the Mariners. He was a class guy who seemed as mystified by his struggles as anyone.
He’s only 27, so it’s not as if he’s out of time. And knuckleballers, as the Dodgers kept reminding themselves, can take a different path to success.
-- Steve Dilbeck