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Astros internal database hacked; trade discussions leaked

Lucas Harrell for Lucas Giolito? Ichiro retiring in Houston? All of the top prospects for Bud Norris? Man, the Astros have been busy.

Scott Halleran

The Houston Astros have set the baseball world on fire once again.

Amidst their never-ending tanking controversy, the Astros have made new waves, though this time to no fault of their own (aside from some security issues). As first reported by Deadspin, the Houston Astros' internal communication and evaluation system "Ground Control" has been hacked into anonymously, and notes on past trade discussions have been leaked onto the data sharing site Anonbin. Two sets of notes have been leaked. One dates back to last summer's trade deadline, while the other is set over the offseason. They can be found here and here.

The authenticity of the notes has been confirmed by numerous people, including Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and David Cameron of FangraphsESPN's Buster Olney also reports that the Astros have begun reaching out to other clubs, apologizing for the leak. Houston has also released the following statement on the matter:

“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.”

You can read a full, cleaned up transcript of the discussions over at Deadspin, but here are a few highlights:

  • The Astros apparently though quite highly of former starter Bud Norris, who they dealt to Baltimore at last year's trade deadline. Among the names Houston asked for in return for Norris include such highly regarded prospects as Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Kyle Crick, Marcus Stroman, Tyler Glasnow, Nick Castellanos, Garin Cecchini, and Xander Bogaerts. The eventual return for Norris was outfielder LJ Hoes, right-hander Josh Hader, and a competitive balance lottery selection (37th overall).
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow asked the Nationals for right-hander Lucas Giolito (generally regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball) in exchange for Lucas Harrell. Natonals GM Mike Rizzo "did not respond immediately." Go figure.
  • A number of teams reached out to Houston regarding catcher Jason Castro over the winter, including the Royals, Mariners, and White Sox. The Mariners offered outfielder Dustin Ackley straight up for Castro.
  • The White Sox considered Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia, and Jose Abreu to be "untouchable", while the Blue Jays refused to discuss Brett Lawrie, and the Pirates regarded Gregory Polanco as off-limits.
  • The Marlins told the Astros in mid-November that the only package they would accept from them for Giancarlo Stanton would require both George Springer and Carlos Correa. The Astros countered by proposing something centered around Delino DeShields Jr. and Jarred Cosart. Marlins GM Dan Jennings has since called the offer "complete fabricated" (per Bob Nightengale).
  • The Astros dealt outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles to Colorado for Dexter Fowler over the winter, but the original proposal by Colorado was for Cosart and Barnes.
  • The Yankees reached out to the Astros, trying to get them to take on Ichiro, even offering to cover a majority of his remaining salary.
Reactions from the leak have varied. Here are a few examples: