Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the Washington Nationals in 2018.
The Nationals won consecutive National League East titles and 192 games in two seasons under Baker, but failed to advance past the division series round of the postseason in each attempt.
Nats GM and President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo addressed media Friday after the announcement.
The Lerner family issued a letter to fans discussing the decision on behalf of the organization:
Dear Nationals fans,
Thirteen seasons ago, when baseball returned to D.C., we envisioned passionate fans at Nationals Park every night cheering on the hometown team. Your energy until the very end of this year’s National League Division Series filled us with pride as we reflected on how far our team and our fanbase have come. As our organization has developed into a perennial contender, you’ve stood by our side — cheering our successes, keeping us honest in our approach to improvement, and celebrating with us as we’ve captured four NL East Division titles in the last six seasons.
Together, we’ve brought competitive, winning baseball back to Washington with a passionate fanbase that every team in the Major Leagues would be proud to call its own. More than anything, we want to share with you the elation of the final out going in our favor, when we can finally bring a championship home to Washington. That “One Pursuit” is the core driving force behind everything we do, from the first day of Spring Training to the last out of the final game.
Even though this ultimately wasn’t our season, we remain devoted to that cause. In further pursuit of that goal, 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.
To all of you who came to see us at Nationals Park this year, and to the millions more who experienced our games on television, radio, or your mobile devices, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are the lifeblood of our organization, and you give us a reason to strive for greatness each night. Your enthusiasm and shared love of the Nationals has not gone unnoticed. And deep down, we know that one day soon we will all line the streets of our great city together as we celebrate reaching our ultimate goal.
Thank you for your unwavering, passionate support. We can’t wait to see you at Spring Training in West Palm Beach and on Opening Day at Nationals Park April 5.
More information to come.