Three MLB managers fired after failing to make playoffs

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The annual culling of Major League Baseball managers began in earnest a day after the regular season ended and it was as swift and brutal as it was predictable.

Three managers, a general manager and a handful of backup coaches all lost their jobs on Monday and more could yet face the axe. In the cut-throat world of professional baseball, post-season sackings are almost as much a tradition as hot dogs and beer.

The New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers all fired their managers after their teams posted losing records and failed to make the playoffs.

The Mets, who have one of the league's biggest payrolls, also ditched their general manager Omar Minaya.

"We are extremely disappointed in this year's results and the failures of the past four seasons," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement.

"We need to hire a new general manager with a fresh perspective who will transform this club into a winner that we want and our fans deserve."

The Mets' manager Jerry Manuel was also shown the door after the team compiled a record of 204-213 since he took the job in June 2008.

"I managed the pieces and the resources the best way that I could, and it didn't work out," Manuel said. "We didn't finish where we wanted to finish, so I take responsibility for that."

Pittsburgh dismissed John Russell after the Pirates dropped 105 this year and finished with the National League's worst records in offense, pitching and defense.

"John was incredibly committed to making good things happen," the Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a conference call. "A valid argument could be made that he deserved a better fate."

Ken Macha was told he was not wanted at Milwaukee next season after meeting with team officials in the morning. He had a 157-167 record in two season with the Brewers.

"Do I think that I merited this? Did I merit getting the job in the beginning? I'm not sure," a philosophical Macha said. "That's just how things work out in baseball. That's the game. That's the business."

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who also missed the playoffs, rearranged their setup, dumping four of their coaching staff after offering a permanent job to Kirk Gibson, the MLB official website reported (www.mlb.com).

Gibson had been working as the interim manager when the team fired A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes two months ago and was promoted to a fulltime position.

The Reds agreed to a two-year extended contract with 61-year-old manager Dusty Baker and his entire coaching staff.

"We believe as an organization that we're in position to be in the playoffs and in contention for many years to come," Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty said.

"We want Dusty to lead our troops in that battle through the years and also in this postseason."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)