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.

Report: Twins interested in Wade Miley

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Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.

The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.

Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”