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Baker out as Reds manager

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty announced Friday that Dusty Baker was removed as the team's manager after six seasons.

Jocketty gave Baker a vote of confidence following the Reds' loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild-card game on Tuesday. But club ownership was not pleased with the manner in which the club finished the season, losing six straight games after being favored to win a second straight NL Central title.

Baker has one year and $3 million remaining on his contract, but said he wants to manage somewhere next season.

"I'm not retiring. I'm not taking a year off unless I'm forced to," Baker said, according to HaldballTalk.com.

Baker went 509-463 in his six seasons as Reds skipper, leading them to three 90-win seasons and two NL Central crowns the past four years. It was Cincinnati's most successful four-year stretch since the Big Red Machine clubs of the 1970s. Baker ranks 16th on baseball's all-time managerial wins list with 1,671.

"This was a very difficult decision to make. Dusty played an important role in the recent success of this organization, and we thank him for his contributions during his time here," Jocketty said in a statement. "We feel a change is necessary, however, if we are to continue to move the organization forward."

Several Reds players reacted Friday to the news of Baker's ouster, the prevailing sentiment being that Baker was the scapegoat after the club performed below expectations.

In an email to the Cincinnati Enquirer, outfielder Jay Bruce wrote, "The Cincinnati Reds became relevant again with Dusty at the helm, and that's something people should never forget. From a personal standpoint, I'm thankful to have had Dusty there with me from the time I was 21 years old."

Changes to the current coaching staff have not been announced. Baker, 64, originally was signed by the Reds to a 3-year contract in Oct. 2007.

Current Reds pitching coach Bryan Price is considered among the likely candidates to be Baker's replacement. Price, who has served as Reds pitching coach since 2009, got a ringing endorsement Friday from Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who's a free agent after this season.

"I think he'd be unbelievable (as manager)," Arroyo told the Enquirer. "He's a freaking smart guy. He makes his decisions on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or the way things have gone in the past. He doesn't do that."
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