From the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga.

Former Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi, considered for weeks the favorite to become the next manager of the Washington Nationals, took his name out of consideration for the job yesterday, saying it was a decision based on keeping his young family together but simultaneously saying he could still end up on a baseball field next season.

Girardi had two meetings over the last three weeks, one with General Manager Jim Bowden and the other with Bowden and team president Stan Kasten. Girardi said the talks went well and that the decision to pull out was “very, very difficult.”

Girardi and his wife, Kim, have three children — two daughters, ages 7 and seven weeks, and a 5-year-old son. They have lived in suburban Miami for only 10 months after moving from Chicago, and Girardi said he didn’t want more upheaval.

“We just moved,” he said. “This was a tough decision, but for my family, it’s the right one.”

Girardi spoke with Bowden yesterday to relay the news. Sources close to the situation said that the job could have been Girardi’s had he aggressively pursued it and that the Nationals had given indications that he was the favorite. Sources insist, however, that the Nationals had not extended a formal offer. All sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the Nationals intend to conduct the search in private.

The loss of Girardi leaves the Nationals with several potential candidates, including New York Yankees first base coach Tony Peña, a former manager in Kansas City whom Bowden tried to hire as a coach before this past season. New York Mets third base coach Manny Acta, who has managed at Class A, is supposed to interview this week. Atlanta hitting coach Terry Pendleton, who hasn’t managed at any level, is another candidate, though it’s unclear whether Pendleton would want to leave his three children in suburban Atlanta to pursue a job elsewhere.

Former Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker said yesterday that he hadn’t heard from Bowden in a week, and it appears his candidacy is, at best, dormant. “It’s the same situation,” Baker said by phone.

Not to cast any doubts on Giraradi’s credibility, but unless MLB has a 2nd Southern Florida franchise I’m not aware of, I’m puzzled as to how he intends to manage next season without relocating.