"I'm surprised and disappointed", Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "We won 95 games last year, 97 this year, but that is not my job".
"Winning a lot of regular-season games and winning divisions is not enough", Rizzo said. "Our goal is to win a a world championship".
Baker was taken aback by the decision, telling USA TODAY Sports he was particularly stunned it took the club 10 days to get back to him with a decision.
"He took the news with his usual class and dignity and professionalism, and we hung up the phone with a good taste in both of our mouths", Rizzo said.
The contracts for the Major League coaching staff also expired and were not renewed by the team.
Rizzo said he and the ownership group made the decision Thursday night - "one of the most hard decisions that the ownership group and myself have had to make" - and Baker was informed Friday morning.More news: Virat Kohli doesn't want to force Ajinkya Rahane bat in middle-order
In a statement Friday, the Nats thanked him for leading them to their first back-to-back division titles. The contracts for the rest of the coaching staff also expired. We wish him the best going forward. "In further pursuit of that goal, we have decided to make a change in leadership and begin the process of finding a new manager". In the wake of their 9-8, season-ending loss to the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the NLDS, multiple players deferred when asked if they'd endorse Baker's return.
"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination", he said at the time.
All season, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said publicly that he expected a deal to get done with the manager.
"We're both confident that he'll be back with us", Rizzo said of Baker the day before the NLDS started.
Baker led the Nationals to the NL East title in each of his two years with the club. "But we haven't had any conversations about it, and we will not do so until we finalize this season". The 68-year-old signed on with the Nationals on a two-year deal worth $4 million that he felt was below market value, and seemed likely to garner a raise on his next deal with the team.