The Washington Nationals have decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after two seasons. This comes after the Nationals’ 3-2 NLDS defeat to the Chicago Cubs. Baker won two straight NL East division titles for the Nationals and two straight NLDS appearances in two seasons with the team.
The Nationals released a statement discussing Baker’s release.
Here's the statement from the Nationals on Dusty Baker and his coaching staff… pic.twitter.com/pR29C34TwZ
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 20, 2017
General manager Mike Rizzo expected bigger things from Baker. He said that “Winning a lot of games and the regular season is not enough.” Baker won 95 games in 2016 and 97 in 2017.
Baker was surprised when notified of his release. He spoke to USA Today about his departure.
“I’m surprised and disappointed. They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me.”
Baker was definitely let go prematurely. Despite two straight NLDS losses, the team was on the right track. Prior to Baker’s arrival in Washington from 2012-2014, the team won the NL East twice with also two seasons of not making the playoffs. With Baker at the healm, he had one of the brightest young stars in baseball with Bryce Harper and 2016 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. The Nationals have won the NL East by a large margin over the past two years with Baker at manager.
With 25 years of managerial experience and success, Baker should get a call from another club soon. I expected the Nationals to regress in 2018 and open the doors for other NL East clubs such as the Braves or Mets.