Russell, who has been the Orioles’ bench coach since 2011, has previous managing experience. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008 to 2010, compiling a 186-299 record over those three seasons.
All of manager Buck Showalter’s coaches, including Russell, are currently under contract for next season, so the Orioles would need to give permission to interview Russell. But Showalter is one of Russell’s biggest advocates and said Russell deserves another shot at managing.
Russell, whose understated personality makes him often overlooked, is in his 19th season as a coach or manager in professional baseball. He also played parts of 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers.
"I'm surprised that he hasn't gotten more play," Showalter said. "John's not that kind of guy. John's never working on his next job. John's as loyal as they come. And he loves it here. He loves the way he's treated and the say he has, but he's not trumpeting... And those are the best type of guys to hire. There's nobody more loyal to an organization, and John's not actively seeking this.
"Quite frankly, that's part of the reason I'm bringing it up. ... There's no propaganda with him. It's, 'You know who I am, you know where I am, there's my body of work.'"
Russell, 53, is one of Showalter’s most valued confidants in the dugout, so losing him would be a hit to the Orioles. Russell is also the team’s catching coach, so his replacement on the coaching staff would need to have a catching background.
Showalter could promote one of his existing coaches to bench coach and hire a coach to handle the catchers. Major league coach Einar Diaz and minor league catching coordinator Don Werner are internal possibilities.
Showalter added that keeping members of his major league staff -- as well as minor league coaches and player development staff -- has been an important part of the franchise's on-field success. He said the team is in the process of signing Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin for next season.
"We've gotten a lot more calls on our people," Showalter said. "Because of what [executive vice president] Dan [Duquette] and ownership has allowed us to do, we're able to hold onto them. When someone comes knocking for R.J. or Griff or [player development director] Brian Graham or [minor league infield instructoer] Dave Anderson or [minor league hitting instructor Jeff] Manto, which they have and are going to, if we can't put them in the big leagues, we can do some things.
"We've done some things to keep the good people. It's not just the good players you've got to keep. It's more about the whole system."