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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Thursday, December 19th, 2013

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Mariners won't trade Taijuan Walker 12-19-2013
Taijuan Walker P SEA
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners are refusing to part with Taijuan Walker in a trade for David Price.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
"Taijuan Walker will be on our club," a Mariners official told Heyman. The Mariners have been one of the clubs that have talked to the Rays about a trade for their left-hander, but they want to build a package around their hitting prospects. The Dodgers and Rangers, as well as a couple other clubs, have also talked to the Rays about Price, but no deal is close.
Orioles concerned about Balfour's shoulder 12-19-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles' concerns over Grant Balfour's physical have to do with his right shoulder.

Dan Connolly on Twitter
Balfour had surgery in September of 2005 to repair his labrum and rotator cuff but hasn't had any issues with his shoulder since. Evidently, though, the Orioles' doctors saw something they didn't like. Both Connolly and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com have reported that there's a real chance Balfour's two-year, $15 million contract will fall apart. A resolution is expected to come Friday.
Indians complete deal with John Axford 12-19-2013
John Axford P PIT
Indians signed RHP John Axford to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Associated Press
Axford, who will close for the Indians, can earn an additional $1.75 million in incentives based on games finished. "We thought he was the right guy to take a chance on," general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We feel like we added an experienced, power arm to the back of our bullpen." Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen will help set up for Axford.
Brett Pill to sign with Korean team 12-19-2013
Brett Pill 1B SF
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Brett Pill is poised to sign with Korea's Kia Tigers.

Andrew Baggarly on Twitter
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle was first to report that teams in Japan and Korea were interested in Pill. Baggarly says the Giants already have a deal in place to sell the first baseman's contract and are just negotiating the final terms. Pill has batted .233/.279/.404 with nine homers over parts of the last three seasons for the Giants.
Clubs overseas interested in Brett Pill 12-19-2013
Brett Pill 1B SF
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that multiple teams in Japan and Korea are interested in Brett Pill.

John Shea on Twitter
Shea says the Giants are asking for as much as $1 million in order to sever ties with Pill. He adds that it would be "a win-win for all," as Pill would get more playing time and a likely raise and the Giants would get a little cash. Pill is not yet eligible for arbitration.
Pedro Florimon nursing oblique strain 12-19-2013
Pedro Florimon SS PIT
Pedro Florimon has been out of Dominican Winter League action since December 6 due to an oblique strain.

Mike Berardino on Twitter
It will presumably rule him out for the rest of winter ball, but Twins general manager Terry Ryan says the injury is "not considered serious." Florimon will be ready to roll for the start of spring training.
Balfour's deal with O's could fall through 12-19-2013
Grant Balfour P TB
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Grant Balfour's two-year deal with the Orioles is in "serious jeopardy" due to issues with his physical that "need to be resolved."

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
There's no word on what the physical issue is. Kubatko says the two-year, $15 million deal was supposed to be officially announced on Thursday, but it's now "very possible" it will fall through. He expects a resolution to come sometime on Friday. It's possible the O's could re-work the deal in order to protect themselves, or they might have to find another closer.
Miguel Sano's elbow 'has improved' 12-19-2013
Miguel Sano 3B MIN
Twins general manager Terry Ryan said a recent exam showed that Miguel Sano's right elbow "has improved."

Mike Berardino on Twitter
Sano is dealing with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow that might require surgery, but this latest update is certainly encouraging. Arguably the top power-hitting prospect in the game, Sano has a shot to make the majors in 2014, but an operation on his elbow would certainly threaten those chances.
Rangers sign RHP Daniel McCutchen 12-19-2013
Daniel McCutchen P CWS
Rangers signed RHP Daniel McCutchen to a minor league contract.

Sosnick Cobbe Sports
The announcement was made by McCutchen's representation. No word on whether the deal includes a spring training invite. The 31-year-old served a 50-game drug suspension this past season while posting a 3.43 ERA and 54/14 K/BB ratio over 60 1/3 innings between the Orioles' Double- and Triple-A affiliates.
Orioles sign INF DeJesus to minors deal 12-19-2013
Ivan De Jesus 2B PIT
Orioles signed INF Ivan DeJesus, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
DeJesus has appeared in 48 games in the majors between the Dodgers and Red Sox and spent this past season with the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate, where he hit .319/.380/.457 over 103 games. The 26-year-old could surface on Baltimore's bench at some point.
Orioles sign Xavier Paul to minor league deal 12-19-2013
Xavier Paul LF PHI
Orioles signed OF Xavier Paul to a minor league contract. The Reds non-tendered Paul on December 3. Paul played in 97 games with the Reds last season, compiling a .741 OPS in 239 trips to the plate.
Cubs sign Mitch Maier to minor league deal 12-19-2013
Mitch Maier CF BOS
Cubs signed OF Mitch Maier to a minor league contract. Maier spent 2013 with Triple-A Pawtucket, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. He accumulated just 137 plate appearances, but posted an .882 OPS while playing at all three outfield positions and occasionally serving as a DH.
Cubs sign Tsuyoshi Wada to minor league deal 12-19-2013
Tsuyoshi Wada P CHC
Cubs signed RHP Tsuyoshi Wada to a minor league contract. The Cubs plan to use Wada out of the rotation. Wada signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Orioles but he never contributed as he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Wada threw 102 2/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk this past season, compiling a 4.03 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 35 walks.
Yankees DFA pitcher Brett Marshall 12-19-2013
Brett Marshall P COL
Yankees designated RHP Brett Marshall for assignment. The move was made to make room for Carlos Beltran on the 40-man roster. The Yankees confirmed the signing, announced on December 7, via press report Thursday afternoon. Marshall, 23, had a rough season in his first taste of Triple-A competition with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, finishing with a 5.13 ERA in 138 2/3 innings of work.
Orioles indicating interest in Kendry Morales 12-19-2013
Kendrys Morales 1B SEA
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Orioles have interest in free agent Kendry Morales, but the draft pick compensation attached to him remains a hindrance.

Jon Morosi on Twitter
The Orioles finished with the 15th-best record in baseball, so their pick isn't protected. While no one doubts Morales' ability to hit, teams are very aware of just how much it would cost to obtain his services, even for one year. The Mets, who already have a glut of first basemen, have also shown interest as their first round draft pick is protected.
Royals unlikely to bring back Ervin Santana 12-19-2013
Ervin Santana P ATL
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Royals are at their payroll limit, making it very unlikely that the team will bring back free agent starter Ervin Santana.

Jerry Crasnick on Twitter
The Royals have already spent a lot of money signing Jason Vargas and Omar Infante. Santana continues to draw interest from the Mariners but the Mets and Diamondbacks have indicated interest recently as well. Santana, 31, would benefit from a market scarcity if Japan's Rakuten Golden Eagle's decide not to post superstar Masahiro Tanaka.
Athletics acquire Corey Brown from the Nats 12-19-2013
Corey Brown LF BOS
Athletics acquired OF Corey Brown from the Nationals for cash considerations.

Buster Olney on Twitter
Brown, 28, was taken by the Athletics in the first round (59th overall) in the 2007 draft. He went to the Nationals with reliever Henry Rodriguez in December 2010 in the Josh Willingham trade. Brown has hit at every level of his ascent through the minors but he repeated at Triple-A Syracuse in 2012-13. The Nationals had designated him for assignment to make room for Nate McLouth.
Rick Ankiel wants to play again in 2014 12-19-2013
Rick Ankiel RF NYM
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that free agent Rick Ankiel is willing to extend his career in 2014, even if that involves taking a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Chris Cotillo on Twitter
Ankiel, 34, spent the 2013 season with the Astros and Mets, racking up a paltry 136 plate appearances with a .657 OPS to show for it. In fact, he has posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of the past three seasons. Beyond occasional power, Ankiel doesn't bring much to the field, but on a risk-free minor league deal, some teams could do worse.
White Sox close to agreement with Scott Downs 12-19-2013
Scott Downs P KC
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that free agent reliever Scott Downs is close to an agreement with the White Sox.

Jon Morosi on Twitter
Downs will be 38 when the 2014 regular season begins but he has showed no signs of slowing down. With the Angels and Braves last season, the lefty posted a combined 2.49 ERA in 43 1/3 innings of work, striking out 37 and unintentionally walking 17.
Rangers and Nelson Cruz "far apart" in talks 12-19-2013
Nelson Cruz LF BAL
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers and free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz are "far apart" in negotiations.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
On Tuesday, GM Jon Daniels said he doesn't expect to bring Cruz back, so it's not surprising that the two sides haven't made any headway. The Mariners are still the favorites to go into 2014 with Cruz, but the Orioles have also indicated interest. Cruz, 33, has entrenched himself as one of the game's premier power hitters since obtaining an everyday job back in 2009. As a result, he is looking for a hefty payout.
Reds, Chien-Ming Wang sign Minor League deal 12-19-2013
Chien-Ming Wang P CIN
Peter Wang of Eastern Television is reporting that the Reds have signed right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Peter Wang on Twitter
Wang can earn an additional $1.25 million if he makes the team's 25-man roster. His career has been a bumpy ride over the last three seasons, as he has posted a 5.55 ERA over 121.2 innings. He spent the 2013 season in the minors with Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo. Wang made just six starts in the majors between June 6 and August 24 this past season.