Report: Randy Messenger and Matt Murton expected to remain in Japan

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We’ve heard some chatter about right-hander Randy Messenger and outfielder Matt Murton potentially giving the majors another try after enjoying great success in Japan, but the Japan Times reports that both players are likely to return to the Hanshin Tigers for another season.

Messenger, who previously pitched with the Marlins, Giants, and Mariners from 2005-2009, owns a 3.02 ERA over four seasons in Japan while averaging 7.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this week that the 32-year-old had set a November 15th deadline to field offers from MLB teams, but he apparently hasn’t found an offer to his liking. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors previously reported that Hanshin was offering three years and $10 million guaranteed.

Murton, who played with the Cubs, Athletics, and Rockies from 2005-2009, bounced back from a disappointing 2012 to hit .314/.361/.484 with 19 home runs and 85 RBI in 143 games this year. The 32-year-old has led the Central League in hits in three out of his four years since coming over to Japan.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.