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Monday, July 06, 2015

Nationals, Astros WPB Spring Training Site Approved

Monday morning, Scott made the change officially official with a bill-signing ceremony held with Nationals and Astros representatives on hand, an acknowledgement of the return of Spring Training baseball to West Palm Beach for the first time since the Braves and Expos left decades ago. That the Astros and Nationals will move to Palm Beach County — if all stays on schedule — means there will be five teams within a 30-minute drive of one another on the east coast of Florida, a good sign for the health of the Grapefruit League, which requires more travel than the Cactus League in Arizona


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Charges pending in alleged St. Louis Cardinals computer intrusion of Houston Astros - CNNPolitics.com

Correa’s attorney, Nicholas Williams, said: “Mr. Correa denies any illegal conduct. The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals organization prior to joining the Houston Astros, and who in the Houston Astros organization authorized, consented to, or benefited from that roguish behavior.”

The probe by investigators at the FBI’s Houston office is complete, according to officials briefed on the matter, but is awaiting action by the Houston U.S. attorney’s office. A U.S. attorney spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Houston U.S. attorney’s office said “no charges have been filed and we obviously cannot provide any information that is not contained in our public court record nor confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of an investigation.”

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said the agency “aggressively investigates all potential threats to public and private sector systems.”

“Once our investigations are complete, we pursue all appropriate avenues to hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” she said.

The intrusion isn’t considered computer hacking. Instead, investigators believe Cardinals employees used an old password belonging to a former employee who went to work for the Astros in order to gain access to the Astros database.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cardinals fire Scouting Director for hacking Astros

Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston Astros database but said it was only to verify whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Correa did not leak any Astros data, and is not responsible for additional hacks that the FBI has alleged occurred or leaking any data, said the source.

Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 02, 2015 at 05:36 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, hacking, scouting

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In Venezuela, the difficult search for the next José Altuve

In 1998, around 20 Venezuelans were playing in the MLB. In 2014, they numbered almost 100.

In those 16 years, Santana and Félix Hernández won three Cy Young Awards between them; Cabrera won the Triple Crown and was twice named MVP; Ordóñez, Altuve, Cabrera and Carlos González won six batting titles; García, Santana, Hernández and Aníbal Sánchez had the lowest ERA during seven different seasons; and Francisco Rodríguez smashed Bobby Thigpen’s saves record.

Ordóñez, Altuve, Valbuena and many others would never have even signed if it weren’t for the academies.

But the boom of the schools has dwindled in the past 15 years. Less than a quarter of the original teams still have a presence in the country. The Venezuelan Summer League is down to just four teams: the Phillies, Tigers, Cubs and Rays. A fifth team, the Twins, still has an academy but doesn’t participate in the league.

“We are left vulnerable to what’s happening in Venezuela, like everyone else,” said a member of one of those teams who asked to remain anonymous. “We are also affected by insecurity and scarcity.”

The land of Luis Aparicio suffers from the highest inflation rate in the world, at about 100 percent, according to independent economists (the Central Bank of Venezuela hasn’t delivered its monthly figures since the end of 2014). The crime rate, especially murders in low-income areas, is among the highest on the planet.

 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

As trade season approaches, Astros have hole in rotation - Houston Chronicle

McCullers high point is 104.2 innings heading into this season.

Collin McHugh and the rehabbing Scott Feldman remain quality rotation pieces, but there’s a need beyond them that young pitchers Lance McCullers and Vince Velasquez probably can’t fill because of developmental innings limits.

“(I’m hopeful for a trade based on) what we’re doing right now and the position that we’re in,” Keuchel said before Saturday’s 9-6 loss to the Yankees. “Fully intend for the front office to make a move. And that’s not like something that’s a given; it’s just that, I know that they want to win and it’s a shared interest between the players and the front office.

“I just would assume we’ll probably get a pitcher based on the fact that we’re not going to run the young guns out for 200 innings. We’re going to need somebody to kind of help fill that void. Whether it’s Kazmir, Samardzija, Hamels, Cueto, whoever, we’re going to expect them to come in and help us out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:44 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Indians Sign Brady Aiken - MLB Trade Rumors

OK, so he lost about $2.5 million.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 23, 2015 at 06:38 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brady aiken, indians

F.B.I. Struggles to Pinpoint the Fingers Behind a Hacking - The New York Times

More info about the hack.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 23, 2015 at 06:24 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Video: Correa’s leaping catch | MLB.com

Great catch!

Jim Furtado Posted: June 21, 2015 at 10:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, video

Friday, June 19, 2015

As Cardinals acknowledge ‘rogue element’ in hacking of Astros, a third breach is found - Ultimate Astros

What a mess.

The Chronicle on Thursday learned that the Cardinals had unauthorized access to Astros information as early as 2012, a year earlier than was previously known. Cards owner Bill DeWitt Jr., meanwhile, for the first time acknowledged that his organization had played a role in accessing proprietary information belonging to the Astros, blaming “roguish behavior.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 19, 2015 at 03:18 PM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Exclusive: Astros’ Jeff Luhnow on Cardinals hacking scandal - MLB - SI.com

Among other comments.

One was the implication that the hackers had been able to gain access to the Astros’ database—which is called Ground Control and contains scouting and medical reports and statistical projections, among other data—because he had failed to change his old passwords. “That’s absolutely false,” said Luhnow, who worked as a technology executive before he began his career in baseball. “I absolutely know about password hygiene and best practices. I’m certainly aware of how important passwords are, as well as of the importance of keeping them updated. A lot of my job in baseball, as it was in high tech, is to make sure that intellectual property is protected. I take that seriously and hold myself and those who work for me to a very high standard.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 19, 2015 at 06:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, jeff luhnow

Let’s Watch Carlos Correa Do Something Amazing | FanGraphs Baseball

Some great info on Carlos Correa.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 19, 2015 at 05:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak committed to find out what happened

“Unequivocally,” Mozeliak said, “I knew nothing about this.”

He just wants answers.
Cardinals owner on investigation: ‘These are serious allegations’

“I don’t know the outcome of this or where it’s going to go,” he said, “but our hope is that when everything comes to light, people will realize that it wasn’t something that was organizationalwide. It shouldn’t be something that takes away from any of the success this organization has had.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 18, 2015 at 06:50 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Deadspin: The hottest possible take on the Cardinals hacking the Astros

This take is somewhat hotter than the core of the Sun.

There is, of course, only one course of action that baseball can take in the wake of this hilarious, impossibly joyful development: CONTRACT THE CARDINALS. That’s right. Destroy them. Raze their stadium. Arrest their players and fans. Intern them all in some kind of horrible Bud Light Mixx Tail tent (with a dress code), where they can wander around in a daze, whispering to each other, “They said it could never happen here, but it DID.”

That is what the Cardinals deserve for lording their superiority over the rest of baseball for decades now. No more Busch. No more best fans in baseball. No more computer hacks that let them get by superior teams in the playoffs and then pass it off as a feat of sheer guile. No more insincere clapping for the other team. No more Bernie Mickelsauce writing deliberately terrible columns in the hopes of getting them fisked. No more custom Darren Wilson jerseys. No more drunken Tony La Russa letting his cat drive.

This is the appropriate course of action for an organization and fanbase that have gone out of their way to brand themselves as special and different from the rest of us. Oh, you’re different, all right. Thanks to the feds, now we know: you’re worse than any of them, and you deserve to BURN. BURN IN A FIRE LARGE ENOUGH TO RIVAL YOUR CITY’S MANY OTHER TIRE FIRES.

Edit: Link fixed. Jim

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 16, 2015 at 03:09 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, hackgate, hot takes

NY Times: St. Louis Cardinals Investigated by F.B.I. for Hacking Astros

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, for hacking into the internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel.

Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Video: Correa’s first career homer | MLB.com

Some exciting young players have debuted this year.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 10, 2015 at 07:13 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

No more anticipation, Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa delivers in debut - SweetSpot - ESPN

The Correa era begins in Houston.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2015 at 06:55 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa

Monday, June 08, 2015

On eve of draft, Astros say they’ve moved on from Brady Aiken debacle - Ultimate Astros

A review of the Brady Aiken/Astros issues last year.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 08, 2015 at 09:46 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, astros

Astros Call Up Top Prospect Carlos Correa

...the Astros finally promoted shortstop prodigy Carlos Correa from Class AAA Fresno on Sunday evening.

Correa, who is ranked as the top prospect in baseball by ESPN.com, will join the club in Chicago for the start of a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. At 20, he’ll be the youngest player in the majors…He is the third member of the Astros’ 2012 draft class to reach the majors in a little over a month. He joins fellow 2012 draft picks Preston Tucker and Lance McCullers…Correa hit .335 (72-for-215) with 10 home runs, 44 RBI, 21 doubles and 18 stolen bases in his 53 games combined this season between Corpus and Fresno. His 34 extra-base hits and 127 total bases were the most in the minors this year heading into Sunday…“We had just had a walk-off win and I was celebrating with the guys when (DeFrancesco) called me in,” Correa said. “Then when he gave me the news I was in shock. It left me speechless. You think of all the hard work that you’ve put in to get to this moment, so it’s special.”

 

GrumpyFan Posted: June 08, 2015 at 12:15 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, June 05, 2015

Inside Baseball: Emerging Astros seek star starter; would Hamels OK them? - CBSSports.com

Jon Heyman’s Sunday notes column on Friday.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 05, 2015 at 02:22 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cole hamels, phillies, sunday notes

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Astros plan to remove Tal’s HIll for 2016

The Astros have received preliminary approval from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority their plans for a $15-million renovation to Minute Maid Park that would include the removal Tal’s Hill in center field and moving the flag poles so they’re no longer in play.

Astros owner Jim Crane thanked the Sports Authority for their support at a meeting Thursday morning and said the renovation project would begin as soon as the season ends and would be finished in time for the 2016 season. The renovations would include more fan-friendly areas in center field.

The Astros hope to eventually open a Hall of Fame beyond center field or in Union Station, but that’s not part of the $15 million plan that’s been approved. The Astros will pay for the project.

“We’ve been working for some time to look at how we can improve the ballpark and we’ve gone through a number of renovations, including the diamond club, the club level, the locker rooms, the offices,” Crane told MLB.com “This is one of our big projects we knew we wanted to do. We did a lot of studies on other ballparks on the entertainment areas in center field and ours is very outdated over the life of the stadium, which has been great.

“We’ve submitted a plan to renovate center field and make it more fan-friendly and get more participation from the fans and really draw some more people in there.”

Crane said the center field fence, which currently sits 436 feet from home plate, would be brought in to about 409 feet. The extra space beyond the wall would be used for additional concessions and fan-friendly areas where spectators can watch the game.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2015 at 01:57 PM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, stadium renovations

McCullers spins complete game gem

Righty Lance McCullers, the rookie with lightning, was the one still searing that 96 mph so late in the game, in just his fourth big league start. The 21-year-old kid’s first complete game since high school — and the first nine-inning complete game of his life — was so near….Hinch on Wednesday went to the mound before Davis stepped in, as suspenseful a moment as any pitch itself. Closer Luke Gregerson was warm in the ‘pen, with McCullers’ chance to go the distance in the balance.

“I went out wanting to leave him in and asked him how much he had left in his tank and he said he had plenty,” Hinch said. “I told him, ‘Good, because this was his hitter to get. This was his game to get.’ He had earned it. It was going to be a good step for him, because I wanted him to shake hands after that at-bat.

“He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘I’m good to go.’”

GrumpyFan Posted: June 04, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Astros Are Making A Historic Turnaround

The Astros’ turnaround becomes historic, however, when you look at how bad they were two years ago. In 2013, the Astros finished 51-111, good for a .315 winning percentage and the bottom of the division. The team was not felled by injuries or misfortune — it was genuinely terrible in every phase of the game.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 29, 2015 at 08:26 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The 10 Cheapest Teams of the Last 10 Years

5. 2007 Florida Marlins: 71-91

Actual salary: $30.5 million / Translated salary: $35.4 million
Highest-paid player: Miguel Cabrera / $7.5 million
Players over $1 million: four
Best position player: Ramirez / 5.3 WAR / $0.4 million
Best pitcher: Sergio Mitre / 2.3 WAR / $0.38 million
It’s hard to think of a more quintessentially Marlins team. Okay, actually, it’s not—you’ll see a few Marlins teams that are even more Marlin-y down below. This team, though, certainly looked like it had the young core of a perennial contender: Ramirez, Cabrera, Johnson, Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, all 24-and-under. It’s hard to imagine a core this great getting away from any team other than the doggone Marlins.

Also only 25 at the time, with a ceiling as high as the sky and 16.2 career WAR under his belt before this season started was Dontrelle Willis. Oh Dontrelle, how we miss you. This would be the last season that Willis would throw 100 major league innings — plus he was fifth on the whole team in wRC+.

4. 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 66-96

Actual salary: $24.1 million / Translated Salary: $28 million
Highest-paid player: Crawford / $4.12 million
Players over $1 million: six
Best position player: Carlos Pena / 5.5 WAR / $0.8 million
Best Pitcher: Kazmir / 5.1 WAR / $0.42 million
This isn’t the only year this is the case, but in 2007, Florida’s two teams barely combined to create the salary of a single mid-market team. In Tampa, this was the last year that the team was called the Devil Rays and it was also the last time they weren’t the coolest doggone team around, what with their storming into the 2008 World Series the next year.

In case you forget why that 2008 team was so surprising, things were still pretty rowdy with this 2007 version. Breakout contenders do not, for instance, tend to have players like Elijah Dukes taking hundreds of plate appearance. They tend to not have 5.53 staff ERAs. But, doggone it, that’s what happened. By 2008 Opening Day the Rays’ payroll nearly doubled, up to $43.7 million, with the team paying (comparatively) big bucks for Troy Percival and Cliff Floyd in free agency.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2015 at 10:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, marlins, padres, payrolls, rays, royals

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where Are They Now? Brent Strom now pitching to Astros aces - NY Daily News

Brent Strom, the second pitcher to get Tommy John surgery.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 10:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brent strom, mets

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bruce Chen Announces Retirement

“Today, I would like to announce my retirement.  For the last 22yrs I have been doing what I love for a living. I feel blessed and fortunate”

Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 19, 2015 at 01:06 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, braves, bruce chen, expos, indians, mets, orioles, phillies, rangers, red sox, reds

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