Houston Astros trade talks with 22 other teams over 6 month period ending in March 2014 were hacked and posted on a data sharing website
"It wasn't exactly Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane spilling his secrets in Moneyball, but unauthorized information hacked from the Houston Astros' computer database sure created a titillating look at how they conduct business during baseball's trade activities.
The Astros were furious Monday when details of trade discussions involving 22 teams during a six-month period ending in March were leaked to Anonbin, a data sharing website.
"It reflects the age we live in,'' Luhnow said before the Astros' game Monday against the Seattle Mariners. "People are trying to steal information, get information, whether it's legally or illegally. In this case, it was illegally obtained and it's unfortunate.
"It's a very unfortunate circumstance when somebody illegally on the outside breaks into the propriety database that we have. Not all the information that was published was accurate. Some it was not. I really can't get into what's accurate and what wasn't. But we're going to pursue it and try to find out who did it and prosecute them.
"The FBI's involved and we've got MLB security involved and we're going to prosecute the party that illegally obtained information.''
The juiciest tidbit was a phone call Nov. 15, 2013, between Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Miami Marlins GM Dan Jennings, involving All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
In the conversation, according to the transcript, Jennings told Luhnow that he had no interest in discussing Stanton, but if the Astros were willing to trade prized prospects George Springer and Carlos Correa, he'd listen. Luhnow, according to the notes published on the website, declined, and instead offered a deal centered around pitcher Jarred Cosart and prospect Delino DeShields, Jr.
Yet, when reached Monday, Jennings vehemently denied that he discussed Stanton with Luhnow, or any GM, since being promoted to the Marlins' GM position last September.
"That never happened,'' Jennings told USA TODAY Sports. "It's completely fabricated. It's laughable, what it is.''
Luhnow spent much of the day apologizing to officials from other major league clubs that were named in the report, which was reported by Deadspin. He did not divulge the specific reaction from every executive, saying largely they were supportive, but certainly, there was anger. Luhnow also spoke with several of the Astros whose name surfaced in the report.
"When you have a conversation with a team,'' Luhnow says, "it's a conversation between the two individual or two clubs. It's not meant to be shared with the world. I feel bad about that. I talked to other teams and expressed my apology and that's about all I can do at that point.
"It's unfortunate it's out there and it's unfortunate that other teams are affected and individual players.''
Springer, when asked how it felt to hear his name surface in alleged talks for Stanton, said: "I'm just here to play baseball. That's it.''
Most of the trade talks, which were entered in the team's database called Ground Control, focused on proposals for pitcher Bud Norris, who eventually was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder L.J. Hoes and pitching prospect Josh Hader.
In other tidbits:
- The Yankees offered in March to trade veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to Houston while willing to eat $4.5 million of his $6.5 million salary.
- The Chicago White Sox were interested in catcher Jason Castro, but told the Astros that ace Chris Sale, first baseman Jose Abreu, pitcher Jose Quintana and outfielder Avisail Garcia were the club's lone untouchables.
"We're doing everything we can to upgrade our security to make sure it doesn't happen again,'' Luhnow said. "We've been working on that since we discovered this.
"It's better now, and hopefully that's good enough,'' Luhnow says. "I don't think anybody can say for sure any system is 100% secure. We're working on it, we've done a security review and will continue to do more.
"This is information is important in our industry as it is in any other industry and we'll do whatever we can to protect the information.''
Yes, even if it meant going back to using a No. 2 pencil and notebook paper, which he did Monday, Luhnow said, in his talks Monday with teams involved in the report.
"It's the double-edged sword of technology,'' Luhnow said. "It makes things easier. When things like this are capable of happening, it's definitely a risk every team should probably think about now in light of what's happened to us. If it happened to us, could it have happened to other clubs? I don't know.
"In talking about it with my counterparts with other clubs, I'm recommending that everybody take a look at their own security system and make sure they don't get hacked the way we were.''"
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