MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs fans eager to see Joe Girardi manage will have to wait until April 15-16 when the Cubs play an Interleague game against the Yankees in New York.
Girardi, 48, decided to stay with the Yankees, and agreed on Wednesday to a four-year contract extension that will keep him as manager through 2017. Girardi's current contract was to expire at the end of the month, and the Cubs were reportedly eager to talk to Girardi in hopes of bringing him back to the team he played for from 1989-92 and 2000-02. The former Cubs catcher has other Midwest ties, having grown up in Peoria, Ill., and attending Northwestern University.
Girardi said his decision was made after discussions with his family. He was aware of the Cubs' interest through media reports.
"Obviously, you hear things in the paper about how [the Cubs] were interested and what they might do, but as far as getting an offer, we never spoke to them," Girardi said. "As far as the Cubs fans, as I said, this involved my family. I have a lot of fond memories back in Chicago, but I have kids now and a wife. Everyone has to be on board with what we're doing. I wish them nothing but the best of luck. It was an organization that I grew up watching and playing [for]. I want to see them do well."
Girardi's father took him to games at Wrigley Field when he was a kid, and he recalled begging players for autographs. He wrote an essay in third grade about how much he wanted to play for the Cubs. He does still have family in the Chicago area who are important to him, but felt it was important to his family to stay in New York.
"It will always hold a special place in my heart," Girardi said of the Cubs. "I don't think that will ever go away. But [New York] is really special to me, too, because of what I've experienced here."
What do the Cubs do now? Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, has already interviewed A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta, and was expected to talk to Rick Renteria. The search for the Cubs' 53rd manager is expected to take several weeks, and the only deadline Epstein has set is to have someone in place by Nov. 11, when the general manager meetings are held.
Acta, 44, managed the Nationals and Indians, and was fired in both stints. Acta would give the Cubs a stronger Latin presence, which may be beneficial to players like Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and Junior Lake, as well as young prospects on the horizon such as Jorge Soler and Javier Baez.
Renteria, 51, managed four seasons in the Padres' Minor League system before joining the big league staff as a bench coach. He also managed Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He played parts of five seasons with the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins, and has managed in the Marlins and Padres organizations.
Hinch, 39, who is now in the Padres' front office, is involved with player development. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer is familiar with both Renteria and Hinch from his time as the Padres' GM.
The Cubs have not asked for permission to talk to Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who interviewed for the manager's job that went to Dale Sveum prior to the 2012 season.
The search began Sept. 30 when Sveum was dismissed after two seasons at the helm.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.