It seemed to be one of the last things anyone in the baseball world expected. The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Dusty Baker.
It was not the kind of news that Reds fans wanted to wake up to this morning. Baker had taken over the Reds in 2008 and essentially “revitalized” them. The Reds were more successful in the last few years since Baker took over than they had been for the better part of a decade. Baker was a breath of fresh air for the Reds and their fans.
It is a bad move on the Reds’ part to fire Baker, but could just be a matter of frustration on the part of the Reds’ front office because of how the team finished their season.
Baker had one year left on his contract, which he will reportedly be paid for. It is understandable if Baker had resigned. He has had some health issues in the past, including an irregular heartbeat and mini stroke in 2012 that hospitalized him and caused him to miss 11 games and the Reds’ celebration when they won the NL Central. His firing was purely a decision by the Reds’ front office however, and had nothing to do with his health.
It probably has to do with the fact that though Baker is one of the winningest active managers in MLB, he has still not won a World Series title with any team he has managed. Another reason could be that even though Baker took the Reds to the playoffs in three of the last four years, they were never able to advance.
It could also be how the Reds finished off this season. They lost their last five games of the season, including a sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and erased their chance to host the Wild Card playoff game, which they lost in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. His firing could have to do with any number of these things that could contribute to frustration in the Reds’ front office since they saw World Series potential in this year’s team.
That does not mean that it was the right decision. Baker, who is a three-time NL Manager of the Year, had put together a Reds team with plenty of potential and talent. He led them to the NL Central title in 2010, only to be swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round. The Reds won the NL Central in 2012 as well, but were unable to get past the San Francisco Giants in the first round. This year was the same story.
This could end up being a good decision on the Reds’ part if Baker’s replacement is successful with the team, but right now it just seems like the Reds are shooting themselves in the foot.
There probably aren’t many fans that are going to look at it as a good thing for the team right now. They are sure to miss Baker, and they will always remember what he did for their beloved team.