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4:30pm: The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:
“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.
“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”
2:29pm: Extensive trade discussion notes, apparently logged by Astros executives about their talks with other teams, have been leaked onto the site AnonBin here and here, with Deadspin breaking the story and Yahoo’s Jeff Passan verifying the authenticity of the logs. The earliest notes are from June 2013, and the latest are from March of this year. The Astros have yet to comment on the leak, which provides unprecedented detail into how the team values players and approaches trade discussions. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros have been reaching out to people around baseball apologizing for the leaks, and plan to issue a statement soon.
A March feature by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle outlines Ground Control, the Astros’ confidential internal database from which the trade discussion notes were likely taken. At this time, it’s unclear whether the information reached the Internet via a rogue employee of the team, or by some kind of security vulnerability in Ground Control. The trade discussion information, mostly from last summer and offseason, is somewhat dated in the fast-moving baseball hot stove world. The larger ramification is the breach of trust experienced by the many non-Astros executives cited in the notes. It’s unlikely any team would rule out the Astros as a trading partner based on this breach, but some teams could approach talks with added caution. Additionally, I imagine the many other teams with such highly sensitive material online are doubling down on security right now.
The Astros’ trade notes from last summer and offseason range from the blockbuster to the mundane; here are some highlights.
- On November 15th, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow expressed interest with Marlins GM Dan Jennings in slugger Giancarlo Stanton. From the notes: “[Jennings] said he doesn’t think he’ll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be [George] Springer and [Carlos] Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Luhnow] posited a deal around [Jarred] Cosart and [Delino] DeShields.” It’s not a big surprise that Luhnow rejected Jennings’ proposal out of hand, as Correa and Springer were ranked #4 and #19 on Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list for ESPN, and are major building blocks for Houston. That Luhnow didn’t appear to offer either player suggests he was mostly gauging Stanton’s price after an off-year with three years of control remaining. UPDATE: Jennings has commented to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, saying it’s fabricated that they ever offered Stanton to the Astros or any other team, also using the word “laughable.”
- Interest in Astros catcher Jason Castro was strong last offseason, with a few surprising suitors. The Blue Jays and Rangers reached out in mid-October to gauge Castro’s price, the White Sox had “definite high interest,” and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Luhnow in November that he was getting calls from other teams asking if he could get Castro from the Astros for those teams. Zduriencik offered Dustin Ackley and was turned down.
- Notes for the Astros’ summer trade discussions begin at June 17th, 2013. The team ultimately went on to acquire Ronald Torreyes from the Cubs in June, and also dealt veterans Jose Veras, Bud Norris, and Justin Maxwell near the July deadline. The Astros did not end up acquiring any top 100-type prospects, but they sure did ask for the moon. For Norris, the Astros sought Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn from the Giants, Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman from the Orioles, Marcus Stroman and more from the Blue Jays, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Garin Cecchini from the Red Sox, and Tyler Glasnow plus Luis Heredia or Nick Kingham from the Pirates. The Red Sox offered Ryan Lavarnway or Deven Marrero for Norris and were turned down. In the end, the Astros traded Norris and an international draft slot to the Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a 2014 competitive balance pick.
- When Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called to express interest in middling Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who had a 5.17 ERA at the time and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, “[Luhnow] told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.”
Harrell was designated for assignment, outrighted, and traded for a pittance nine months later, so the Astros might have overplayed their hand.
- “Untouchable” players from other teams were revealed through conversations with their executives. White Sox GM Rick Hahn wouldn’t consider trading Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, or Avisail Garcia. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos considered Brett Lawrie off-limits. Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco came up as well, in that GM Neal Huntington wouldn’t include him in any Norris deal. In December talks regarding Harrell, the Giants said they would not discuss Brandon Belt.
- More random notes: Mets executive Paul DePodesta asked Luhnow if the Astros would consider trading shortstop Jonathan Villar in a Daniel Murphy deal in December…the Marlins expressed interest in Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, and others in December.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Bud Norris | Carlos Correa | Chicago White Sox | Daniel Murphy | Delino DeShields Jr. | Deven Marrero | Dustin Ackley | Dylan Bundy | Garin Cecchini | George Springer | Giancarlo Stanton | Houston Astros | Jackie Bradley Jr. | Jarred Cosart | Jason Castro | Jonathan Villar | Jose Altuve | Kevin Gausman | Lucas Giolito | Lucas Harrell | Luis Heredia | Marcus Stroman | Matt Dominguez | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Nick Kingham | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Lavarnway | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Xander Bogaerts
The Pirates have won just one of Paul Maholm's eight starts this year, but the left-hander and his 3.60 ERA aren't to blame. Pittsburgh has averaged 1.5 runs per game with Maholm on the hill, including last night's shutout at the hands of the Dodgers. Here's the latest on the Pirates…
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com explains that he believes the Pirates should move now to lock Andrew McCutchen long term. Since McCutchen hasn't fully realized his potential, the Pirates could save on an extension and pay him Justin Upton money ($51.25MMM) instead of Carlos Gonzalez money ($80MM). Plus, it would be a positive for fans and other players, Bowden argues. The Pirates have discussed a long-term deal with their center fielder and hope to sign him for five years or more.
- Tim Dierkes says he expects a six-year deal for McCutchen, who probably won't have to settle for less than $52MM.
- Pirates prospect Luis Heredia is just 16 years old, but he looks closer to 20, according to Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. The right-hander retired rehabbing catcher Carlos Ruiz in extended Spring Training, much to the delight of his mother.
- John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review chronicles Jose Ascanio's long path back to the Pirates roster. The right-hander, who was acquired as part of the 2009 Tom Gorzelanny trade, is back in Pittsburgh after a two-year absence.
From the South Bay to the Valley, from the West Side to the East Side, everybody is very happy because Vin Scully will return in 2011. Let's check out some links from around the web..
- A member of the Mets watching Rod Barajas say goodbye to his teammates quipped "Can I go with him?", tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Ken Rosenthal pays tribute to Lou Piniella, and opines that Joe Girardi would be a perfect managerial replacement, though he has doubts that the Cubs could pry him away from New York.
- The Nationals have extended their affiliation with the Syracuse Chiefs for an additional two seasons, according to the team's official Twitter page.
- Josh Thole is excited about having the opportunity to start every day now that Rod Barajas has been claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Rays might be willing to take a chance on Manny Ramirez, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- With the way Austin Jackson is playing, it looks like the Tigers got the better end of the Curtis Granderson deal, writes Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger.
- Pittsburgh's signing of Mexican hurler Luis Heredia was years in the making, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes that the Indians weren't afraid to spend on the draft this year. Cleveland's top ten picks all signed for more than their recommended slot.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter) jokes that Buck Showalter has done too well with the Orioles as the club might now lose out on the first overall pick in the draft. Baltimore is now 44-80 while the Pirates are 40-83.
Friday Night Links..
- Despite a published report to the contrary, Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever is not headed to the Mets, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon spoke to a few members of the Reds who would like to see Dusty Baker sign an extension with the club.
- Brandon Inge and Johnny Damon are both okay with having been put on waivers, writes Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
- Reds manager Dusty Baker dismissed questions about him possibly becoming the Dodgers manager if Joe Torre retires, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Mark Kizla of The Denver Post urges Todd Helton to call it quits.
- The Padres don't have much interest in outfielder Cody Ross, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Pirates will send Luis Heredia to their affiliate in Bradenton not to pitch, but to familiarize himself with the program, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter) passes along a report from Japanese outlet Sponichi that the Yankees sent Damon Oppenheimer and scout Billy Eppler to watch Yu Darvish.
- Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter) wonders aloud if the Brewers might make a deal in order to free a roster spot for the returning Carlos Gomez.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo says that Bryce Harper won't be playing in any games for their Gulf Coast League affiliate this season, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brandon Inge | Bryce Harper | Cincinnati Reds | Cody Ross | Colorado Rockies | Detroit Tigers | Johnny Damon | Luis Heredia | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | Todd Helton | Washington Nationals | Yu Darvish
The Pirates officially signed Mexican pitching prospect Luis Heredia for $2.6MM, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It’s the biggest bonus the Pirates have ever given an international amateur.
Heredia’s former team, Veracruz, will keep 75% of the bonus ($1.95MM) and Heredia will keep 25% ($650K). The 16-year-old right-hander already passed a physical and completed the agreement with the Pirates, though the sides have not yet officially signed the deal.
Many teams were interested in Heredia and it appeared in July that the Blue Jays had offered him $2.8MM. However, the Pirates' offer was competitive and Pittsburgh has long-standing connections to Veracruz and Heredia himself. It's been a breakthrough week for the Pirates, who signed right-handers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie before Monday night's deadline to come to terms with picks.
The Pirates are the “strong favorite” to sign Mexican pitching prospect Luis Heredia, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates have been scouting the 16-year-old right-hander more aggressively than any other MLB club and have close ties to Veracruz, Heredia’s team. Not only do the Pirates have connections to Veracruz, which controls Heredia’s rights, Pittsburgh’s Mexican scouting suprevisor, Jesus Valdez, has known Heredia since the pitcher was five.
Veracruz cannot entertain formal offers until Thursday, but many teams other than the Pirates appear to have interest. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers, A’s, Giants and Braves all scouted Heredia in Mexico last week, according to Kovacevic.
Let's check out some Pirates tidbits, courtesy of Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette..
- The Pirates remain the favorites to land 16-year-old Mexican pitcher Luis Heredia. Veracruz, the Mexican team that holds his rights, is allowed by the Mexican Baseball League to begin entertaining offers on Thursday. Early last month, the Pirates and Blue Jays were said to be the favorites for his services. Toronto reportedly offered $2.8MM while Pittsburgh offered $2.5MM. The Yankees were said to be gaining interest in the prospect as of a month ago.
- Jameson Taillon's father Michael expects his son and the club to reach agreement prior to tomorrow's deadline. Michael mentioned that there remained a "variable" for the two sides to work out. The variable, Finder says, could be a spot on the 40-man roster. It appears that the Pirates are reluctant to oblige, though the father of the second overall selection doesn't see it as a potential stumbling block. The slot recommendation for Taillon is $3.25MM, though he will likely receive more.
- As for the Pirates and second-round choice Stetson Allie, there's optimism on both sides that a deal can be reached. Both Allie and Taillon are represented by the Hendricks brothers.
- The Indians signed tenth round pick Tyler Holt according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Holt's $500K bonus is the largest we've seen for a player drafted in a double-digit round this year.
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News wonders how much the Texas heat will play into Cliff Lee's decision about whether or not to re-sign with the Rangers after the season.
- MLB.com' Brittany Ghiroli tweets that Orioles' third rounder Dan Klein is expected to report to one of the team's minor league affiliates once he passes his physical, indicating that the two sides have a deal in place.
- Someone familiar with Bobby Valentine’s thinking tells Larry Stone of the Seattle Times that Valentine considers the Mariners managerial opening one of "the most appealing jobs in baseball.”
- The Nationals released Ron Villone, according to Syracuse Chiefs broadcasters Jason Benetti and Mike Couzens (on Twitter). The veteran left-hander, who last pitched in the majors in 2009, posted a 6.59 ERA in Triple A this year.
- The sale of the Rangers is now final, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom writes.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker previews some of the players who could soon make the jump from Japan to MLB. Wei-Yin Chen, a 25-year-old lefty represented by Alan Nero may be posted this offseason.
- Veracruz, the Mexican team that holds the rights to pitching prospect Luis Heredia, will not entertain offers from MLB clubs until next Wednesday, August 18th, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Tim Chambers, Bryce Harper's college coach, told Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com that Harper, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, is “begging to play.” Chambers expects the Nationals to work out a deal by Monday night’s deadline.
- Angels scouting director Eddie Bane told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that the Angels are "fairly close" to an agreement with first rounder Kaleb Cowart, though he expects negotiations to last until Monday, the deadline for signing draft picks.
- Jamey Newberg counts down the ten biggest August trades in recent Rangers history for MLB.com. Rick Helling and Ryan Dempster have prominent roles on the list, which is worth checking out.
Sunday night linkage..
- Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com wonders if the reason Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo has made players like Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham available is because the team's offense is struggling with them as it is, so he'll try to improve other areas of the team.
- ESPNChicago's Bruce Levine says the Yankees could join the mix for Ted Lilly following Andy Pettitte's injury today. Meanwhile, Yanks' GM Brian Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that he is "not inclined" to make a move to replace Pettitte yet, saying that he prefers to give internal options a try first. Levine has the Tigers, Twins, Mets, and Dodgers also in the hunt for Lilly.
- Scott Miller of CSBSports.com wonders if this weekend's poor play (three losses to the Padres) makes a Dan Haren trade more likely.
- David Villavicencio of Fox Sports Florida tells us that players like Cody Ross and Ricky Nolasco want to stay with the Marlins, and know they need a strong run to make that a reality.
- Mark Kotsay knows what it's like to be the player who's desired in a trade, but also to be the player who would lose playing time as a result of one, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- Jose Bautista was honored that Alex Anthopoulos called him to help get Yunel Escobar settled into his new environment, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Bautista says that he loves Toronto and would like to stay there long-term.
- The Yankees, who have been interested bystanders through most of the process, are now getting more interested in Mexican amateur pitcher Luis Heredia, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, the Pirates and the Blue Jays remain the frontrunners for the 15-year-old, who is sure to get a bonus of more than $2MM.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets that Tampa Bay expressed interest in Yunel Escobar before he was dealt to Toronto. He also tweets that Reid Brignac was part of the talks.
- Hayden Penn, a pitcher for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate who was reportedly nearing a deal with the Chiba Lotte Marines, is on his way to Japan, according to Indianapolis Indians Triple-A announcer Scott McCauley (via Twitter). McCauley also says that another Indianapolis hurler is "close to a deal".
- The White Sox, who have been linked to Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, have had a scout present for Washington's series against the Marlins, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter).
- Reliever David Aardsma is a possible fit for the Tigers, tweets Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs attempted to peg Fausto Carmona's trade value.
- Roy Oswalt wants to claim the Astros win record before leaving, writes Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle.
- Jean-Jacques Taylor of The Dallas Morning News praised the moves made by Rangers GM Jon Daniels.
- Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun senses deja vu all over again as the deadline approaches.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Dunn | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Cody Ross | Dan Haren | David Aardsma | Detroit Tigers | Fausto Carmona | Hayden Penn | Houston Astros | Jose Bautista | Josh Willingham | Luis Heredia | Mark Kotsay | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Reid Brignac | Ricky Nolasco | Roy Oswalt | Tampa Bay Rays | Ted Lilly | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Yunel Escobar
The Pirates and Blue Jays are bidding on Mexican pitching prospect Luis Heredia, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A source tells Kovacevic that the Blue Jays offered the tall 15-year-old right-hander $2.8MM and the Pirates offered $2.5MM. The international signing period opens today, but Heredia cannot sign until August 16th of this year, when he turns 16.
Any teams interested in Heredia will have to negotiate with Veracruz, the Mexican team that currently owns his rights. Veracruz will keep three quarters of the bonus Heredia receives and controls the prospect’s future to a considerable extent.
The Yankees have also scouted Heredia, but the Pirates have been watching him for two years and are closer to the pitcher than any other team. Back in May, the Dodgers, Giants, Rangers and Mariners also appeared to have interest. The Pirates and Blue Jays have both scouted and invested in international prospects aggressively in recent years.