Washington Nationals announce Dusty Baker will not return as manager

Dusty Baker (AP file photo)

The Washington Nationals announced Friday that Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the team in 2018.

On Friday, the Nationals released a statement on their decision:

Today, the Washington Nationals announced that Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. The Lerner family, on behalf of the entire organization, would like to thank Baker for his two years in the dugout. He led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in our history and represented our club with class on and off the field. We wish him the best going forward.
The contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired. The Nationals’ search for a new manager will begin immediately, and we will work with that person to build his coaching staff.

Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo on letting Baker go commented "One of the most difficult decisions we ever had to make as an ownership group."

ABC7's Scott Abraham reports per Rizzo, the decision was made late last night....the Nats informed Dusty Baker Friday morning, and this was a "pure" baseball decision.

Baker led the club to its first back-to-back National League East division titles and consecutive playoff appearances in his two seasons with the Nats.

However, Baker lost in the first round of the MLB playoffs two straight postseasons, including a heartbreaking 3-2 series loss to the Chicago Cubs in the 2017 National League Divisional series.

The loss was the Nats fourth straight first-round exit in four postseason appearances since the franchise moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005, according to ESPN.

Under Baker, the Nationals finished with a record of 192-132. According to ESPN, his .593 winning percentage was the best in the team' s franchise history for a manager who led the team for a full season.

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