The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Dusty Baker, despite three playoff appearances and two NL Central titles over the past four seasons.
Reporter John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer confirmed the decision of GM Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini on Friday morning, and colleague C. Trent Rosecrans already has listed three of the top candidates to replace Baker. They include Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, former major league manager Jim Riggleman and former major leaguer David Bell, the Cubs third-base coach in 2013 whose father, Buddy, and grandfather, Gus, played for the Reds.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says Tony La Russa (who worked for/with Jocketty in St. Louis) has "no interest" in managing.
It's unusual for a manager with Baker's results to get fired, but it happens.
Jocketty told the Associated Press that the Reds fading in the final week of the season had a lot to do with the move.
The final-week fade was a major factor in the decision, general manager Walt Jocketty said in a phone interview.
''Just the way we played lately was a factor,'' Jocketty said. ''But I think the way the season ended was kind of the final decision.
''The last six games certainly played a big part in this.''
Baker's Reds went 90-72 in 2013, losing in the winner-take-all NL wild card game at Pittsburgh. The Reds also won the NL Central in 2012 and 2010, but lost in the NLDS round in each of those seasons. Overall, the Reds went 509-463 (.524) in six seasons, but only 2-7 in the playoffs. So postseason results might be one reason Baker's out. What else is there? Fay says Baker and the Reds' front office clashed for several reasons:
Baker was clearly disappointed this year that the Reds' front office did not provide any help at the trade deadline. The Pirates added outfielder Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau.
Byrd played in a key role in the season-ending sweep of the Reds and hit a home run to get the scoring started in Tuesday's win.
Baker and Jocketty clashed sometimes on player issues. Baker said this season he had to fight to get top prospect Billy Hamilton added to the roster.
That dynamic obviously flowed both ways: Baker wasn't giving the Reds front office everything it thought the manager should.