Dan Kolko of the MLB Network passed along the news of Baker's exit after two years with the Nats. Mark Zuckerman of MASN provided a statement from the club:
Mark Zuckerman @MarkZuckerman
Here's the statement from the Nationals on Dusty Baker and his coaching staff... https://t.co/pR29C34TwZ2017-10-20 16:12:04
"Winning a lot of regular season games and the division is not enough," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker said, per USA Today."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.
The Nationals posted a 192-132 record over the last two seasons and captured the National League East division title both times. They failed to advance beyond the NLDS on either occasion, however, getting eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 and the Chicago Cubs this year.
Washington held a 4-1 lead early in its decisive Game 5 matchup with the Cubs last week before Chicago stormed back for a 9-8 victory.
"It really hurts, you know, to lose like that," Baker told reporters after the elimination. "Especially after what we went through all year long, and that was tough."
He added: "It's very disappointing. Not to be going to L.A., not to go home see my family, and play in Dodger Stadium, and go to the next step. You know, it was just a tough game to lose."
Although Baker's .593 winning percentage with the Nats is the best of his four managerial stops—he previously led the Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds—the organization's current mindset is World Series or bust since a playoff berth is a virtual certainty in the weak NL East.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted sources said the California native wanted "another crack" to lead the Nationals to a championship in 2018.
Alas, the front office decided to move on from the 68-year-old former All-Star outfielder despite winning at least 95 games in each of his two years in charge.
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