Nikkan Sports is reporting that the Hanshin Tigers are interested in signing both Matt Murton and Craig Brazell to multi-year deals. It seems the team is worried that the two players will want to return to the US at some point in the near future to continue their careers in the Majors and feel that they might be able to stop them (or at least make their decisions that much tougher) by offering them long-term deals.
Murton is currently in the first year of a two year deal (the second year is an option year held by the Tigers). Despite this, it seems the Tigers are preparing a new deal for him. And it doesn't seem like they're just thinking 2011. According to the Nikkan Sports report, the Tigers are looking 2 and 3 years down the road as well. I don't know if that means they're thinking of offering Murton a 2-3 year deal, but it could be a possibility.
The same would go for Brazell. Although with Brazell, his contract actually ends at the end of the season -- the Tigers signed him to a one year deal before the start of the season since there was some concern with the health of his left knee. The contract also apparently contains a clause that gives the Tigers first negotiation rights (or rather, if the Tigers show serious interest, he isn't allowed to sign with any other NPB team). But that doesn't include teams outside of the Japan. The only way to stop Brazell from returning to the Majors over the next 2-3 seasons is with a multi-year he's happy with.
While the Tigers are stopping short of offering the two players blank check (paraphrased from the article), they do realize the importance of both players and the impact they've had on the team this season. It'll certainly be interesting to see what happens with these two players when negotiations begin.