It was not a difficult decision for the front office of the Boston Red Sox. It was the only decision.
John Farrell simply had to go, and just about everyone around here knew it. The only question after the Red Sox were eliminated by the Houston Astros on Monday in the American League Division Series was when the Sox would part ways with Manager John.
The answer was Wednesday as the Red Sox officially fired Farrell after five years as their skipper. If there is anything shocking about Farrell's dismissal, it's that the public relations-obsessed Boston brass didn't wait until a Friday afternoon news dump to make the move.
"I thought it was the appropriate time to make a change for the betterment of the organization," said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski during a press conference that lasted over 30 minutes.
Yeah, no kidding, Dave.
Farrell was a managerial roller coaster in Boston with ups that included a World Series title (2013) and three AL East crowns, and downs that included two consecutive last-place finishes and one playoff game win in the last four years.
Oh, and there was also his reported relationship with former Comcast Red Sox reporter Jessica Moran that made headlines during spring training in 2016, which certainly didn't help matters when his job was already hanging by a thread after a last-place finish.
The fact that he survived that uncomfortable situation and lasted two more full seasons was a small miracle.
This is Boston, after all -- home of a $200-million payroll and perennial World Series aspirations. You gotta win, baby. And even if you do that over and over again, they'll still find a way to send you packing. Just ask Francona, who had an expiration date after eight seasons and two World Series crowns.
The 55-year-old Farrell always felt like he was in over his head, something that may have been easy to foreshadow since he guided the Toronto Blue Jays to back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the AL East in 2011 (81-81) and 2012 (73-89). But the Red Sox knew him as the pitching coach from their 2007 championship team.
Boston sought out Farrell and hired him away from the Jays in October of 2012, sending compensation to Toronto. From the Red Sox point of view, Farrell must've looked like a modern-day Casey Stengal compared to Bobby Valentine, who was fired in October of 2012 after one embarrassingly poor season managing the Sox. Then again, at that time my dog would've seemed like a baseball genius to Boston's bosses.
Farrell is physically imposing at 6-foot-4, strong-jawed and well-spoken. So to those who didn't do their homework at the time, he certainly looked the part. One year after his hiring, and in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, Farrell and the Sox somehow caught lightning in a bottle and went on to capture an unexpected World Series championship.
The skipper was the toast of the town. But it was a classic case of peaking too early. As time went on, Farrell became more and more exposed.
We realized he wasn't necessarily well-spoken, he just prefers to use unneeded big words and talk in circles, all while never really owning up to mistakes.
We realized being physically imposing doesn't matter if you can't stand up to your players, which Farrell clearly couldn't or wouldn't do. That fact presented itself when Farrell failed to put out the fire caused when pitcher David Price confronted Hall of Fame pitcher and current television analyst Dennis Eckersley on a team flight in June because Price was upset Eckersley didn't make himself available to the players after what they felt were critical comments about the team.
Handling egos and controlling the clubhouse is a key component to being a successful manager. If you can't do that, you better be an exceptional in-game manager. Unfortunately, Farrell was the opposite of that.
He routinely made head-scratching decisions, including famously trying to make a pitching change at Yankee Stadium in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the ninth in August when by rule he wasn't allowed to. Farrell tried to walk out to the mound to remove Addison Reed after pitching coach Carl Willis had already visited the mound for a conference earlier in that same at-bat.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Dombrowski didn't dive into specifics as to why exactly Farrell was fired. He didn't need to. Anyone with a pulse knows why.
Farrell leaves Boston with a record of 432-378 (.533 winning percentage). In most places, that would be pretty good. But in this town, it wasn't good enough.
Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone