"I had chances to join a few organizations [or] do some work on television, but this made good sense to me," Piniella said. "First of all, [Giants general manager] Brian Sabean and I have been friends for a long time. But more important than that, I get a chance to just do baseball and at the same time be able to come home just about every night and I'll be able to get out of the house every night. "
Piniella said his duties will involve scouting American League clubs for the World Series champions. The fact that he'll be able to stay in Tampa and do the job, Piniella said, was key to his accepting the position.
"The good thing about it is we got six or seven teams in this area for spring training and [Tropicana Field] is only 20 miles down the road," Piniella said.
Piniella retired as Cubs' manager during the 2010 season, his fourth year in Chicago, to return home to Tampa, Fla., and help his ailing mother. He also spent time away from the Cubs due to the death of his uncle in July.
Piniella acknowledged that his fourth and final season in Chicago wasn't the success he hoped it would be.
"It was very difficult for me and it was difficult for the players," Piniella said. "I was gone quite a bit. With coming home, with my uncle dying and my mother's [health situation] ... I think the players sensed that at times I wasn't there to give them the 100 percent support that basically a manager should."
In spite of a trying 2010 season, Piniella left Chicago as one of the most successful managers in franchise history. On the whole, he is proud of his accomplishments.
"I came over there four years ago and the team had lost 97 games and in two years we won 97," Piniella said. "The big thing is that we didn't get as far as we wanted to in postseason."
Piniella had extensive praise for new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and general manager Jim Hendry.
"The whole thing here basically is that I had four wonderful years [in Chicago]," Piniella said. "Last year wasn't successful. I was happy to see Mike Quade come in and do a really nice job and he was awarded with a two-year contract. I've talked to Mike and I hope he does well, and I wish the players well. I enjoyed my four years with them. We had some ups and downs, but that's part of the course. Nothing goes absolutely smooth. I wish the players well and I hope the Cubs do well and prosper. And I think from talking to Tom [Ricketts], his brothers and his sister enough during the course of last summer, their heart is in it. They want to see this thing get better and better."