CINCINNATI (AP) -- One very bad week clinched Dusty Baker's fate. The Reds decided they weren't going to bring him back.
Not after they ended the season with six losses in a row, including the wild-card playoff game. Not after they failed to get past the opening round of the playoffs for the third time in a row. Not with all the booing at Great American Ball Park.
Instead of keeping Baker around for one more try, the Reds fired him on Friday, parting ways with the manager who led them to their best stretch of success since the Big Red Machine but couldn't get them deep into the postseason.
"Maybe the time is long enough because I was starting to get quite a few jeers and some hate mail and stuff," Baker said during a conference call. "So maybe it was time for me to move on."
The move came after the Reds lost the wild-card playoff in Pittsburgh 6-2 on Tuesday night, their sixth straight loss. The final-week fade was a major factor in the decision, general manager Walt Jocketty said in a phone interview.
"Just the way we played lately was a factor," Jocketty said. "But I think the way the season ended was kind of the final decision.
"The last six games certainly played a big part in this," he added.
The Reds are the fourth team with an opening at manager. Davey Johnson retired after the Nationals' season, Eric Wedge left the Mariners and the Cubs fired Dale Sveum after finishing last in the NL Central.
Baker took over a rebuilding team in 2008 and led it to three 90-win seasons and three playoff appearances in the last four years, their best run since Sparky Anderson managed the Big Red Machine to two World Series titles in the 1970s.
The lack of playoff success built pressure for change.
"Although he's the one that ran the club every day, there are a lot of areas we can look at that could be to blame here, including the front office, the players, the coaching staff," Jocketty said. "It's not only just Dusty. We felt it was important going forward to provide new leadership, a new voice, whatever you want to call it."
Though stunned by the late fade -- Baker said he felt "very helpless" as the offense went into a slump and the rotation fell apart -- he expected to return for the final year on his contract.
"Maybe it's something I said, maybe something I didn't say along the way," Baker said. "I know I had a conversation with Walt that they were going to look to replace (hitting coach) Brook Jacoby, and I was like, 'Oh, no, Brook's not doing anything as one of my coaches that deserved that.' It wasn't an ultimatum, but I just said, 'Hey, man, if we get rid of Brook, you might as well get rid of me, too.'
"The next thing I was called up to the office," Baker continued. "I thought I was going to discuss Brook's future and the rest of the coaches' future, and I was told my services were no longer needed."
He thinks they might be somewhere else. The 64-year-old Baker is in good health and hopes to manage again.
"I've got a lot to offer somebody," he said. "I know it, and I think they know it, too."
He didn't get to celebrate the Reds' last two playoff-clinching wins. Last year, he was in a hospital in Chicago recovering from an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke when the Reds wrapped up the NL Central title in Cincinnati.
They decided not to celebrate when they clinched a wild card this year with a 90-72 record, hoping for that deep run in the playoffs. Instead, they went on that final fade.
Baker went 509-463 in his six seasons with Cincinnati, finishing third on the Reds' list for wins by a manager behind Anderson (863) and Bill McKechnie (744). His 1,671 wins rank 16th on the career list. He won three NL Manager of the Year awards.