WASHINGTON - Dusty Baker will not return as the manager of the Washington Nationals, the team announced Friday afternoon.
Baker led the team to back-to-back division titles, but the Nationals were bounced from the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons.
His two-year contract with the club was expiring and the Nationals announced the contracts of Baker's coaching staff would also expire. The Nationals said the search for a new manager would begin immediately and the team would work with the new skipper to build his coaching staff.
The move comes after the Nationals were eliminated in Game 5 from the National League Division Series by the Chicago Cubs. The team was also eliminated in Game 5 of the National League Division Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016.
In a letter to fans, the Nationals said in part, “We have decided to make a change in leadership and begin the process of finding a new manager. This was an incredibly difficult decision for us. Dusty Baker 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. He is one of the true gentleman in our sport, and we thank him for the successes that we enjoyed together over the last two years. We wish him nothing but the best going forward.”
In his two seasons as manager, the Nationals went 192-132 in the regular season.
The 68-year-old has been a manager for 22 seasons, spending time with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds before he joining the Nationals. He has compiled a 1,863-1,636 (.532 winning percentage) over that time. Baker's teams are 23-32 (.418 winning percentage) in the playoffs and he has been to the World Series once, back in 2002 when his Giants loss to the Anaheim Angels in seven games.
He has been named the National League Manager of the Year three times in his career and he coached the 2003 National League All-Star team. Before becoming a manager, Baker played 19 seasons in the majors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.