Storylines: Astros experience massive information breach
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, June 30.
- Extensive trade discussion notes, apparently logged by Astros executives about their talks with other teams, were laked onto the site AnonBin with Deadspin breaking the story and Yahoo's Jeff Passan verified the authenticity of the logs. The earliest notes are from June 2013, and the latest are from March of this year. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Astros have been reaching out to people around baseball apologizing for the leaks. A March feature by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle outlined 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.
- The Astros 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."
- As of Monday's American League All-Star ballot update -- the last before rosters are announced on the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN -- Michael Brantley again ranked sixth among outfielders with 1,630,452 votes as Cleveland's sole representative on the leaderboards. The position remains headlined by overall voting leader Jose Bautista (4,460,245) of the Blue Jays and Mike Trout (4,085,647) of the Angels.
- Terry Francona noted that Indians utility man Ryan Raburn was feeling better after dealing with whiplash-like symptoms (stiff neck and headache) on Saturday and Sunday. Raburn was banged up on a diving catch to rob Seattle's Kyle Seager of an extra-base hit in the second inning of Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin's one-hit shutout on Saturday.
- Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall headed into Monday's game with a .350 batting average, but remained just shy of qualifying for the American League batting race. A player needs to average 3.1 plate appearances per team game and Chisenhall entered Monday averaging 3.01 PAs over Cleveland's 81 games.
News and Notes:
- The Blue Jays haven't shown any interest in Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks since they're looking to land a better defender at the keystone, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported.
- The Cardinals are open to acquiring a second or third baseman and have also considered adding a "complement upgrade" for their lineup, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Padres outfielder Seth Smith was cited by Goold as an example of the type of complementary player the Cards are discussing, though Smith himself isn't necessarily being targeted by the team. If the Cardinals do add a 2B or 3B, Matt Carpenter would play the other position.
- Manny Machado's five-game suspension was upheld by the league, the Orioles announced yesterday, and the third baseman began serving his suspension last night. Machado had been appealing the ruling, which stemmed from a June 8th incident that saw him throw his bat towards third base in a game against the Athletics.
- Jon Lester told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that there haven't been any new negotiations between his representatives and the Red Sox, and there won't be any extension talks during the season since Lester considers them a distraction.
- One AL scout would "without hesitation" trade the prospect package of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey for David Price if the Blue Jays received such a demand from the Rays, the scout told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. This may not be enough for the Jays to outbid others for Price, however, given the number of teams interested and how Tampa is rumored to want a premium if they were to trade Price within the division. Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is said to be refusing to move all of Norris/Sanchez/Pompey in a deal for anyone, including Price, Jeff Samardzjia or another pitcher.
- High school left-hander (and first overall draft choice) Brady Aiken reportedly arrived in Houston last Monday, which would indicate that an agreement was close, but a week later nothing has been announced and neither side is saying why. The holdup, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals. If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011. Of course, this is just speculation on Rosenthal's part and only the parties involved know whether there is any kind of issue with Aiken's physical.
- Well-regarded young infielder Yoan Moncada has left Cuba with apparent intentions of qualifying for MLB free agency, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The 19-year-old switch-hitter would be subject to international spending limits, making for an interesting wrinkle in the soon-to-launch July 2 signing period.
- The Royals signed Raul Ibanez to a Major League contract, the team announced. The 42-year-old was released by the Angels last week after signing a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Halos in the offseason.
- The Rays claimed Cory Burns off waivers from the Rangers, according to MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.