Luis Heredia Rumors

Astros’ Trade Discussion Notes Leaked

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.

Pirates Notes: McCutchen, Heredia, Ascanio

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.

Odds & Ends: Barajas, Piniella, Nats, Ramirez, Jackson

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..



Odds & Ends: Mets, Reds, Helton, Darvish, Harper

Friday Night Links..


Pirates Sign Luis Heredia For $2.6MM

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.


Pirates Remain Favorites To Sign Heredia

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.


Pirates Notes: Heredia, Taillon, Allie

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.

Odds & Ends: Holt, Lee, Klein, Valentine, Villone

Links for Thursday, exactly 23 years after the Braves and Tigers swapped Doyle Alexander and John Smoltz

  • 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.

Odds & Ends: Nationals, Lilly, Haren, Marlins, Kotsay

Sunday night linkage..


Blue Jays, Pirates Bidding On Luis Heredia

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.