Note to Dusty Baker – this is what happens when you ask for an extension. From the LA Times’ Steve Henson.
The Dodgers acted swiftly and decisively Monday, severing ties with Manager Jim Tracy one day after the end of a disappointing season, one month after Tracy asked for a contract extension and one year after the team won its first division title since 1996.
The parting was not described by the Dodgers as a firing, nor as a resignation, rather as “a parting of ways.” Tracy, who posted a 427-383 record in five seasons, was paid an undisclosed amount as a buyout for the last year on his contract.
Tracy (above), 49, might not be out of work long. He is considered the leading candidate for the opening in Pittsburgh and his name has been mentioned for the vacancy in Tampa Bay.
Tracy asked for a contract extension through 2008 in a Sept. 8 meeting with Dodger Owner Frank McCourt and DePodesta, a bold request considering the team was limping to a 71-91 record.
DePodesta’s thinking changed at that point. He had been comfortable with Tracy remaining at the helm through the last year of his contract, but was unwilling to commit beyond 2006.
Refusing the extension would only exacerbate the resentment the manager already felt toward DePodesta for making so many roster changes and further poison their already tenuous working relationship.
Tracy already had publicly blamed the front office for the poor season, saying the abundance of off-season moves had disrupted clubhouse chemistry. He also refused to take any responsibility for the worst Dodger season since 1992, even after DePodesta and McCourt both admitted that their mistakes had contributed to the debacle.
So DePodesta determined that a change in managers was the only recourse. Tracy did not wish to come to Dodger Stadium on Monday, so they hammered out details of the separation over the phone.