Source: Robinson won't return in 2007

Source: Robinson won't return in 2007

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals are planning to tell manager Frank Robinson on Thursday that he will be not return to the club in 2007, a baseball source said after Wednesday's game against the Phillies.

Another source said the front office, which includes general manager Jim Bowden and team president Stan Kasten, has yet to set up a meeting with Robinson. Bowden did not reply to an e-mail and Kasten declined to discuss Robinson's situation when approached by

Robinson's contract expires at the end of the year, and the veteran skipper has been waiting for weeks to learn about his future. Robinson was hoping to manage the Nationals for another three years, but a second-half collapse in 2005 -- after being in first place before the All-Star break -- and a subpar season in 2006 has put him on thin ice with the organization.

At one point last offseason, then-president Tony Tavares accused the team of not working hard before games under Robinson.

After the Washington Post first reported Robinson's dismissal around 11 p.m. ET, the media approached Robinson following Wednesday's 8-7 loss to the Phillies, and the skipper said the report was nothing new to him.

"I'm not going to dignify any reports that are out there," Robinson said. "You guys [the media] have been writing [that I wouldn't be asked back] for quite some time."

After the 2005 season, in fact, the team dismissed three of Robinson's coaches -- hitting coach Tim McCraw, first-base coach Don Buford and third-base coach Dave Hubbard -- while bullpen coach Bobby Natal resigned.

But adding new coaches and the acquisition of left fielder Alfonso Soriano didn't make the Nationals any better. The team (70-88) will finish in fifth place in the National League East for the third year in a row.

Despite the disappointing season, it looks like the Nationals are going to end the year on a positive note. They are 14-11 during the month of September and 32-36 after the All-Star break, a vast improvement from their 38-52 first half.

Asked how the positive finish reflects on him, Robinson said: "Not much, I guess, from what I read."

Robinson has managed the franchise for five seasons since 2002, when the team was known as the Montreal Expos. The team is 384-422 under his watch. The first two years, with a low budget, Robinson did a remarkable job, as the Expos were in Wild Card contention, finishing with an 83-79 record both years.

Second baseman Jose Vidro has been with the team throughout Robinson's five-year tenure, and he said that the manager never had the horses to work with.

"We have not been able to give him what he wants," Vidro said. "There are times that he has been very frustrated. He expects a lot from us. I know he has been upset, but he has been patient for the most part. He has come out the next day and try to make sure we get better, and you have to appreciate that."

It's not known who will replace Robinson, but the source said that Mets third-base coach Manny Acta and Braves third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez are candidates. Published reports also say Lou Piniella and Tony Pena could be considered for the position.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.