BOSTON -- The decision to move on from manager John Farrell, who had guided the Red Sox to American League East titles the last two years, was not an easy one for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to make.
But after soliciting input from all key members of his staff, Dombrowski felt it was the right move.
After advising owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Sam Kennedy of his decision, Dombrowski informed Farrell in a face-to-face meeting at roughly 9 a.m. Wednesday at Fenway Park that the club had decided to switch managers.
The search for the next manager of the Red Sox will start immediately.
"I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization moving forward," Dombrowski said in a news conference. "You weigh a lot of different things to come into play. You watch day in, day out over a season. You come up with a decision based upon that. And for me, at this point, sometimes change can be better. That's why we've decided to move forward with the change."
Dombrowski, perhaps out of respect for Farrell, didn't think it was appropriate to cite specific reasons for the change. The 55-year-old Farrell, who guided the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2013 and was the pitching coach for the '07 title team, had one year left on his contract.
The announcement to dismiss Farrell came two days after the Red Sox were eliminated from the American League Division Series presented by Doosan for a second successive year.
"It's not a snap decision that says, 'Oh, we lost in the postseason.' That is not by any means the case," said Dombrowski. "The Houston Astros have a good club, so that's not the reason. In my position, you're always thinking about how you get better in every different facet, so it's a thought process that takes place in everything you do."
Given how organized Dombrowski is, he already had a working list of candidates in case he needed to hire a manager at some point. Dombrowski said he will fine-tune that list and that managerial experience is helpful, but not a necessity.
At the very least, Dombrowski said he would like to hire someone who has been on a Major League coaching staff. Ron Gardenhire, Brad Ausmus, Alex Cora, DeMarlo Hale and Sandy Alomar Jr. are candidates who could emerge on Boston's wish list. Dombrowski didn't think it was appropriate to name specific candidates.
The Red Sox won 93 games in each of the past two seasons, and Farrell was the first manager in club history to guide the club to back-to-back AL East titles.
"I want to start by thanking John Farrell for what he has done for the Boston Red Sox throughout the years as manager and pitching coach. He's accomplished a lot of fine things for the organization," Dombrowski said.
After the thrilling championship run in '13, Boston finished in last place in '14 and '15.
Despite the resurgence of the past two years, Boston couldn't get the spark it needed come playoff time. The starting rotation and offense struggled in the Division Series to the Astros.
The offense was inconsistent in the regular season and the loss of David Ortiz -- who retired after the 2016 season -- was felt in the lineup and perhaps in the clubhouse.
"I think we can get better as a team," Dombrowski said. "We'll see what happens in that regard. I'm not ready to get into all that. I think it's a situation where we went through a transition. We did win the division. You can always get better. We look to get better. I think young players' growth will make a difference in that regard. A new manager coming in will provide just an overall different dynamic, a change. And we'll see what happens in that regard."
The Indians swept the Red Sox in three games in last year's Division Series. The Astros outscored the Red Sox, 16-4, while taking the first two games of this year's Division Series in Houston last week. Boston came back with an inspired performance to win Game 3, 10-3, and was six outs away from winning Game 4, but Chris Sale gave up the lead on a solo homer by Alex Bregman to start the eighth inning and closer Craig Kimbrel faltered in his place.
"When you don't win a world championship, it's not all the manager by any means," Dombrowski said. "Some of the players didn't play as well. Could I have given them some better players? We all share in those responsibilities. We have a very fine, talented baseball club, and I look for us to be good for years to come. Some of them will hopefully have better years next year too. Some of them didn't have the best seasons in their career and I think some of them are capable of having better years."
Overall, Farrell spent nine seasons with the Red Sox, also serving as the club's pitching coach from 2007-10. In between, he managed the Blue Jays in '11-12, going 154-170.
Farrell was Boston's manager for nearly three full seasons before Dombrowski was hired to run the baseball operations department in August 2015. At that same time, Farrell was undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma and missed the final six weeks of that season.
The Dombrowski-Farrell pairing started in Spring Training of '16, and wound up lasting two seasons.
"I mean, I don't know if he was surprised," Dombrowski said of Farrell's reaction. "I asked him to come on in. He asked me a question that I answered and really that was all he wanted to ask me. It's not like he was pleased. I would say he was disappointed. But I can't really tell you exactly. It's wasn't like he was happy.
"He was professional with me. I like John Farrell. We've dealt well with each other working wise. But it's never an easy moment. That's not an easy thing that you cherish doing. It's not a fun thing to do, but I think it's the way you do things, and you tell somebody face to face like that when you do it."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.