John Farrell is out as manager of the Boston Red Sox. After steering a relatively young team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history but also consecutive first-round playoff knockouts, Farrell was dismissed with one year left on his contract, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Wednesday. Dombrowski declined to get into specifics about the move — or offer any substantive reasons for making it — during a 34-minute news conference at Fenway Park. He also wouldn’t say whether Farrell might have been spared if the Red Sox hadn’t lost to the Houston Astros in the best-of-five Division Series.

But in dumping Farrell now, Dombrowski clearly determined that the team needs a new voice in the clubhouse and a fresh public face. Despite another first-place American League East finish, the Red Sox grew increasingly unpopular this season. Prime-time television ratings on New England Sports Network dropped 15 percent below ratings last year, which was David Ortiz’s final season. In a statement, Farrell thanked the Red Sox’s ownership group, the team’s front office and Boston’s coaches, players and fans.

Popular former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek will be mentioned prominently as a possible successor to Farrell. But Varitek has neither managed nor coached at the big league (or any) level, qualifications that Dombrowski indicated will be prerequisites for the job. Dombrowski could turn to Brad Ausmus, whom he hired in 2014 to manage the Detroit Tigers but was recently dismissed. Another possibility: Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora, a hot managerial prospect who played for the Sox from 2005 to 2008.

Farrell posted a 432-378 record over a roller-coaster five-year tenure that included a World Series championship in 2013 and two last-place finishes. He is the only Red Sox manager to win three American League East crowns and ranks sixth on the club’s all-time wins list. But Farrell also became a punching bag for frustrated fans and talk-radio hosts. While all managers get second-guessed for in-game moves that don’t pan out, Farrell came under greater scrutiny than many. Some critics maintain that he would have been fired in 2015 had he not missed the final six weeks of the season to undergo cancer treatment.

Dombrowski huddled with his baseball operations staff after Monday’s season-ending loss and made the choice to cut ties with Farrell. On Tuesday, he presented his decision in a face-to-face meeting with owner John Henry and team president/CEO Sam Kennedy, with chairman Tom Werner conferenced into the meeting by phone.

This year, in particular, was challenging for Farrell. Regarded previously as a players’ manager, there was a perception that he lost respect from some veterans who doubted he had their back. Left-handed pitcher David Price, for one, seemed to treat Farrell with derision by calling him “Manager John.” Farrell dealt with several brush fires this season. There was a beanball saga against the Baltimore Orioles in April and May in which Red Sox pitchers repeatedly failed to exact revenge for a hard slide into second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who in turn appeared to take sides against his teammates for their attempts at retaliation. In June, Price humiliated broadcaster Dennis Eckersley on the team plane, an incident that didn’t produce any apologies to the Hall of Fame pitcher from uniformed personnel, including Farrell.

On the field, though, Farrell masterfully handled the bullpen en route to 15 extra-inning victories, and he coaxed the most out of an offense that slugged the fewest home runs in the AL by preaching relentless opportunism on the bases. In his final on-the-field act Monday at Fenway Park, he was ejected from Game 4 of the American League Division Series for protecting Pedroia in an argument with plate umpire Mark Wegner. Then, Farrell advised bench coach Gary DiSarcina to leave ace pitcher Chris Sale in the game in the eighth inning. Sale gave up the tying homer to Houston’s Alex Bregman. After being knocked out of the playoffs by the Astros, several players pledged support for Farrell.

Dombrowski is now able to appoint a manager of his choosing. Upon taking charge late in the 2015 season, Dombrowski inherited a cancer-stricken Farrell. And although Dombrowski never publicly hinted at dissatisfaction, even complimenting Farrell last week after the Red Sox clinched the AL East, he also was never effusive in his praise. If anything, observing Farrell seems to have given Dombrowski an appreciation for the intensity of managing in Boston. It requires a thick skin and the ability to shrug off criticism. And it isn’t for everybody.

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