Reds fire manager Dusty Baker

Joe Robbins

Ownership apparently wanted to change direction after the Reds' elimination at the hands of the Pirates.

The baseball world was hit by surprising news on Friday morning when longtime Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker was fired by the organization just three days after being eliminated by the Pirates in the NL Wild Card round. The news was first reported by the Associated Press and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal confirmed that Baker was indeed fired and did not quit.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty stated that Baker's job was safe just two days ago. When asked if there question as to whether Baker would return, Jocketty said "I don't think so" and reiterated that Baker had a year left on his contract. That likely means the decision to remove Baker came from owner Bob Castellini.

Baker took over the Reds in 2008, and while they finished under .500 in his first two campaigns, Cincinnati has made the playoffs in three of the last four years, including twice by division title. Even with this regular-season success, they still never advanced past the National League Division Series since it was first played in 1995. Ownership apparently no longer believes Baker is the man to bring them further than they've been.

It's unknown if Baker will seek employment elsewhere immediately or if the 64-year-old will take a year off from managing -- or the game as a whole. There are other high-profile jobs available if he's interested in the former: the Washington Nationals are in a similar win-now situation to the Reds and now have a job opening with the retirement of Davey Johnson.

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