12/19 Roundup

There were a few notable trades, transactions and announcements Thursday, but the biggest Hot Stove news was the deal that might not happen at all.

The Orioles seemingly had closer Grant Balfour locked up with a two-year, $15 million deal Tuesday, but that pact could be in jeopardy, according to several reports, because of issues revealed during Balfour’s physical. Baltimore has not commented on Balfour’s status.

The Orioles were planning to introduce Balfour on Friday at a press conference, according to The Baltimore Sun, but that has been postponed. If Balfour is no longer an option, the O’s might have to turn their attention toward former Indians closer Chris Perez or former Rays closer Fernando Rodney to replace Jim Johnson.

Here’s a look at some of Thursday’s other news and notes from around the league:

• Will Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka be posted? The question still hangs over the Hot Stove proceedings after conflicting reports emerged Thursday. The New York Times cited several reports in Japan that said the Rakuten Golden Eagles were preparing to tell Tanaka that they will not post him this winter. But one report on Sponichi quoted Eagles president Yozo Tachibana saying the club is still undecided. Another report, by Sports Hochi, said the team will offer Tanaka a record-breaking salary to stay.

• There is no longer any uncertainty, however, regarding Carlos Beltran’s status. The veteran outfielder officially joined the Yankees on Thursday, and he will be introduced at a news conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 11 a.m. ET.

• The Nationals sent outfielder Corey Brown to the A’s in exchange for cash considerations. It was the second time in two weeks, and the eighth time in three years, that Oakland and Washington have completed a trade. The Nats had designated Brown for assignment after signing Nate McLouth to a two-year contract.

• The White Sox made two moves to bolster their bullpen Thursday, signing veteran reliever Ronald Belisario to a one-year, $3 million deal and reportedly agreeing to a one-year contract with left-hander Scott Downs. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of MLB Network and FoxSports.com reported the latter deal, but the club has not made any comments on Downs.

• The Cubs signed left-handers Jonathan Sanchez, Tsuyoshi Wada and Tommy Hottovy to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Wada is expected to compete for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation this spring. Chicago also announced it has signed outfielder Mitch Maier to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invitation.

• Luke Scott, who spent the last two years as the Rays’ designated hitter, told MLB.com’s Bill Chastain he is “really excited” to be heading to Korea next year. Scott will play for the SK Wyverns and receive a $250,000 base salary along with his $50,000 signing bonus.

• Veteran right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has reportedly agreed to a Minor League deal with the Reds.

• The Orioles picked up former Reds outfielder Xavier Paul and three others on Minor League deals with invitations to Spring Training.

• According to CSN Bay Area, the Giants have an agreement in place to send first baseman Brett Pill to the Kia Tigers of Korea Professional Baseball. The deal hasn’t been finalized, according to CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly, because Pill and the Tigers haven’t agreed on a salary.

• Right-hander Daniel McCutchen announced on his Twitter account that he signed a one-year deal with the Rangers.

-Adam Berry

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