WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are seriously interested in hiring Willie Randolph as a bench coach, according to baseball sources. The news about Washington's interest in Randolph was first reported by Newsday in New York. It's not known if Randolph will take the job.

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden and manager Manny Acta were in meetings last week in Florida during which they discussed putting a coaching staff together. Last month, the team dismissed five coaches after it finished the 2008 season with a 59-102 record.

Acta, Bowden and team president Stan Kasten were not available for comment.

Randolph has a good relationship with both Acta and Bowden. When Randolph was managing the Mets, Acta was his third-base coach in 2005 and '06. Bowden was the GM when he offered Randolph the Reds managerial job after the 2000 season, but the latter turned it down.

Randolph is a person with championship experience. As a player and coach with the Yankees, Randolph won six World Series titles. As a manager, he guided to the Mets to the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals in 2006.

This season, Randolph was in his fourth season as the Mets' skipper before being relieved of his duties on June 17. Since then, Randolph was a guest of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at the 79th All-Star Game and was in uniform for the Yankees' Old Timer's Day and last game at Yankee Stadium ceremonies.

If Randolph is not a member of the coaching staff, the Nationals may look at Don Baylor, who has experience as a manager and hitting coach. Before the '06 season, then-manager Frank Robinson tried to hire Baylor as his hitting coach, but the team ended up hiring Mitchell Page.