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.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.