Quick Hits: Pirates, Dodgers, Leyland, Orioles

The Pirates might now be better than any other organization at fixing pitchers, ESPN's Jayson Stark writes. That begins with Francisco Liriano, who started Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals tonight, but it also includes Charlie Morton, who will start Game 4, along with Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, and Jeanmar Gomez. Liriano originally agreed to a two-year deal with the Pirates, but when Liriano broke his non-pitching arm while surprising his kids last Christmas, that contract was adjusted to guarantee just $1MM. Liriano's injury caused him to miss the beginning of the season, but it also allowed the Pirates to take their time adjusting his delivery. "The changes that he made — we couldn't have done that if he'd been in big league camp," says Jim Benedict, a special assistant to GM Neal Huntington. "But because he spent so much time in extended spring training, he had time to get his delivery right and build his arm up slowly." The adjustments they made turned Liriano into a top-flight starter, and gave the Pirates one of the biggest free agent bargains of the offseason. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • Despite the Dodgers' extremely strong finish to the season, they still haven't picked up manager Don Mattingly's 2014 option, and that's leading to speculation about Mattingly's future, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman notes. Outwardly, the Dodgers have shown strong support for Mattingly, but one source tells Heyman that the Dodgers might need to beat the Braves in the NLDS for Mattingly to be asked to return.
  • As far as GM Dave Dombrowski knows, Jim Leyland "wants to keep going" as the Tigers' manager, Dombrowski tells MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. The Tigers have retained Leyland on a series of one-year deals, and that will likely continue, but, Dombrowski says, "He knows if he wants to manage, he can just keep managing."
  • Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette says his club needs to improve its on-base percentage and pitching, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The team will likely concentrate on retaining and developing its own pitching, however, rather than trying to work the free agent market. They would particularly like to see their pitchers throw more innings. "That would be the goal: to make the most of the players on our current roster and encourage them to train in a way in the offseason to help them accomplish that," says Duquette. The Orioles would also like to re-sign Scott Feldman.

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