Sep 28, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds managerDusty Baker
(12) in the dugout during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE: 10/4/13 — 12:58 p.m. CT
The Cincinnati Reds confirmed early reports that manager Dusty Baker had been dismissed by the organization in a statement.
“We thought about it and it was something that we just saw the club the way it was trending and playing lately, that something wasn’t right and change was necessary,” team general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We felt it was the right thing to do to talk to Dusty before he left town and not let him get home and call him or bring him back.”
It is unknown whether or not Baker will pursue other managerial openings this offseason.
According to Ben Walker of the Associated Press, Dusty Baker has been fired by the Cincinnati Reds after six seasons at the helm. Reports indicate the front office was “seething” over the club’s loss in the National League Wild Card game earlier this week, which prompted the move.
The front office believed there was plenty of big league talent on the roster and was expecting a deep playoff run, even a World Series appearance, and Baker’s club fell short of this goal.
Baker had one year and approximately $3.5 million left on his contract, which makes it highly unlikely that he resigned from the role. All reports indicate that Baker was relieved of his duties by the front office.
The former Chicago Cubs skipper had seen the club reach playoff berths in three of his six years in Cincinnati, compiling a record of 509-463. Bakers is also a three-time NL Manager of the Year, led the San Francisco Giants to the NL pennant in 2002 and had the Cubs within five outs of a World Series in 2003.
Baker is only the Reds skipper to lead the team to the postseason more than once. He ranks third on all-time on the Cincinnati win list behind a pair of Hall of Famers –Sparky Anderson and Bill McKechnie.
Earlier this week, GM Walt Jocketty told reporters, including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, that he hadn’t considered firing Baker: “I don’t think so,” Jocketty said. “He’s signed for another year.”
However, reports indicate that ownership got involved in the decision, which may have led to Baker’s departure.
In his time with the Cubs, Baker led the club to a 322-326 mark over four seasons, but fell short of delivering a World Series title, which was the expectation following his first season in the Windy City. That season, the Cubs won 88 games, finishing first in the National League Central. The team went on to take down the Atlanta Braves in the National League Divisonal Series before falling to the Florida Marlins in the NLCS. Of course, that series included a catastrophic meltdown in Game Six that allowed the Marlins to capitalize, going on to win their first World Series since 1997.
There is an array of in-house candidates to replace Baker in the manager’s office in Great American Ballpark, including another former Cubs skipper, Jim Riggleman, who is currently the Triple-A manager for the Reds. He managed the Washington Nationals (09-11), the Seattle Mariners (08), the Chicago Cubs (95-99) and the San Diego Padres (92-94). Pitching coach Bryan Price is also to be held in high esteem by Jocketty and Reds management.