Diamondbacks couldn’t get Hiroki Kuroda to say yes

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Two weeks ago the Diamondbacks reportedly made Hiroki Kuroda a contract offer, but general manager Kevin Towers revealed today that they couldn’t get the free agent right-hander to give them an answer.

Arizona signed Jason Kubel instead, paying $15 million over two years for a left fielder who isn’t even a clear upgrade over incumbent Gerardo Parra.

Apparently the money was burning a hole in Towers’ pocket, although it seems odd that he’d spend it on an outfielder rather than turning his attention to a different starting pitcher.

It’s possible that the Kubel signing could allow the Diamondbacks to trade Parra for pitching help, but Towers indicated to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that they plan to keep him in a part-time role.

For now Arizona’s front four is Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, and Josh Collmenter, and the Diamondbacks have plenty of good pitching prospects to compete for the final rotation spot if they opt against a veteran pickup.

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.