Astros working with FBI, intend to prosecute Ground Control hackers

Houston AstrosThe Houston Astros are predictably fuming over the security breach that led to 10 months of internal trade talks being leaked and posted on an anonymous hacker-type website Saturday, and they say they intend to prosecute those involved.

The team issued the following statement Monday regarding the leak:

“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. It does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion … was embellished or completely fabricated. We have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. We intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent,” said the statement according to the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich.

The Astros say they have upgraded their system since being hacked. GM Jeff Luhnow described the leaks as frustrating.

Computer hacking crimes can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on what kind of damage was done. The crimes can be punished by time in prison and/or fines.

The two pranksters who recorded a phone call between former Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik and sold the recording to Deadspin had their charges from federal prosecutors dropped. They got off with community service and 18 months of conditions. What was done in this instance is much worse, so we’re expecting a harsher punishment, though not something incredibly severe.

Houston Astros internal trade talks leaked

Houston Astros10 months of internal trade talks from the Houston Astros organization were leaked onto a website and exposed, giving readers a glimpse of what the trade process is like for at least one MLB team.

Deadspin posted about the leak and says the documents came as a result of someone hacking a private database for the Astros’ front office. They say that two years ago, the Astros front office created an online private database called “Ground Control,” which gives its users access to player stats, video and communication with other front offices in baseball. Somehow the contents of these private talks/messages from “Ground Control” were hacked or leaked and posted on a site called Anonbin.com, which is an anonymous sharing site.

On June 28, this thread was posted on Anonbin showing the records of trade talks surrounding pitcher Bud Norris, who was eventually traded to the Orioles.

Norris was a former sixth-round pick of the Astros and went 34-46 with a 4.33 ERA in 4-plus seasons with Houston. The team was looking to deal him last year and had conversations with the Giants, Nationals, Tigers, Red Sox, Pirates, Giants, Phillies and Orioles from what we can tell. They eventually traded Norris to Baltimore on July 31, just ahead of the deadline. They got back an outfielder, minor league pitcher and competitive balance draft pick in return, which was much less than what they were seeking in those trade communications.

Also on June 28, another thread was posted on Anonbin. This one details all of the team’s offseason discussions, including times someone reached out to them or vice versa.

Houston had conversations with the Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers, White Sox, Angels, Indians, Rockies, Dodgers, Marlins, Braves, Mets, Giants, Yankees, A’s, Padres and Nationals, from what we can tell. Many of the players who were discussed by either party ended up being dealt.

Here were some of the notable nuggets we noticed:

– Marlins would have considered trading Giancarlo Stanton for Carlos Correa and George Springer.

– Dodgers were willing to talk about trading Carl Crawford because of their outfielder surplus.

– White Sox have four untouchable players – Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu and Garcia (we’re guessing Avisail).

– Angels were willing to trade Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar. They ended up trading Trumbo and Bourjos.

– Rockies were willing to trade Dexter Fowler and ended up doing a deal sending him to the Astros.

– Yankees were looking to move Ichiro and were willing to eat most of his salary.

If you’re interested in reading everything for yourself, check out some of the links posted higher up. It’s certainly really cool stuff if you have time to check it out.

Report: Phillies accidentally traded prospect to Astros in Hunter Pence deal

Domingo-Santana-AstrosIf the Philadelphia Phillies knew they would be this terrible for the past few years, they likely never would have traded a handful of prospects to the Houston Astros for Hunter Pence in 2011. According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, they most definitely would not have traded outfielder Domingo Santana.

Santana, 22, is currently batting .292 in Triple-A. He had a .498 slugging percentage with 20 home runs in Double-A last year, so he obviously has tremendous potential. Considering they supposedly traded him by mistake, I’m sure the Phillies would love to have Santana back.

Less than two months after they picked George Springer from the University of Connecticut, the Astros sent Pence and cash to the Phillies on July 29, 2011, for Cosart, Singleton, Zeid and a player to be named, which ended up being Santana. In spring training, a Phillies official admitted that Santana wasn’t actually supposed to be on the list that was given to the Astros to pick from to satisfy the final piece on Aug. 15, 2011.

The Phillies held onto Pence for less than two seasons before shipping him off to the San Francisco Giants. To make matters worse, their trade with the Astros also included Jon Singleton. We all saw how his MLB debut went earlier this week. Simply put, it’s not a fun time to be a Phillies fan.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Astros manager Bo Porter says his players were disrespectful to Roger Clemens

roger-clemens-skeetersThe Houston Astros should take all the advice they can get. They have not won more than 56 games in a season since 2010, and their record has gotten more embarrassing each year since. Last season, Houston won just 51 games. Given their resume, the players would be wise to listen when people like Roger Clemens speak.

Clemens is a special advisor to the Astros. He met with the team for a short period on Wednesday, and Houston manager Bo Porter was unhappy with the “disrespectful” manner in which his players carried themselves.

“Obviously, as an organization, we’re fortunate to have some people like Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio and different people that will come in throughout the course of the year and speak to our ball club,” Porter told the Houston Chronicle. “Out of respect to your teammates, out of respect to the people that take time out of their day that come out here, it’s the right thing to do to make sure that you are dressed and ready and attentive when that person shows up.”

A 51-111 team (that’s a .315 winning percentage, math people) should be particularly attentive. The Astros are the laughing stock of Major League Baseball. Is listening to Clemens going to make them a playoff team? Not quite, but it can’t hurt — especially for pitchers and catchers.

By going public with his frustrations, Porter is obviously setting the tone in his first season with the club.

Jeopardy takes shot at Houston Astros

Jim-Crane-AstrosThe Houston Astros lost 111 games last season. To the fans, players and front office, that is incredibly embarrassing. To others, it’s pretty funny that a professional baseball team can be that horrible. The people who write the questions for “Jeopardy” apparently see the humor in Houston’s abysmal 2013 season.

Earlier this week, the Astros were used as a hint for an answer that was presented on “Jeopardy.” If you were at all familiar with Major League Baseball, the hint was a huge help.

The corresponding question was, “What is a blowout preventer?” Get it?

Good news, Astros fans — there’s nowhere to go but up in 2014. Well, we hope.

H/T Houston Chronicle

The 2013 Houston Astros are reportedly the most profitable team in baseball history

Jim-Crane-AstrosFor the third straight season, the Houston Astros are well on their way toward finishing with the worst record in Major League Baseball. They finished with a pathetic 56 wins in 2011 and took a tiny step back with 55 in 2012. The 2013 Astros would need to win 14 of their last 33 games to improve upon the previous two seasons. Don’t bank on that happening.

Yet, somehow, the 2013 Astros are the most profitable team in MLB history. According to Forbes, Houston is on pace to make an estimated $99 million in operating income this year. That number is roughly the same amount that the last six World Series champions made combined. That’s right, combined.

Naturally, most of it has to do with payroll. The Astros are paying out roughly $21 million in salary and bonuses this season. Starting pitcher Erik Bedard is the highest-paid player on the team in 2013 with a salary of $1.15 million. He is the only player who will make over $1 million. Last year, before Jim Crane purchased the team, the payroll was roughly $56 million higher.

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Astros vendor fired after taking snow cones into the bathroom with him (Video)

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Astros-vendor-snow-cones-bathroomJust when the Houston Astros were actually starting to do a few things right on the field (yes, winning four of seven is a huge accomplishment for them), one of their vendors had to go and put a tray of snow cones on the bathroom floor while he was sitting on the can. Needless to say, the snow cone salesman has been fired.

A fan who caught the vendor in a bathroom stall with the delicious treats sent a cell phone video to Local 2 in Houston.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “This guy is taking a dump. There’s no doubt about it. What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea? I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor.”

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