Sprung a leak: What hacked Astros docs really expose

Was the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton nearly traded for the Astros' George Springer? That's unlikely, but you can bet the sides talked.

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You’ve no doubt heard that somebody hacked into the Astros’ super-duper proprietary-as-hell computer system and released a big chunk of management’s trade discussions to the public. It was kind of a big deal. The FBI’s even on the case.

But then you start reading the notes — and yes, there might be lots more where this came from, with some of the best held back so far — and … well, it’s almost entirely innocuous. For example:

12/19/2013: JL reached out to BC on Carp. BC said that they likely value Carp more than other Clubs and would likely want real prospect value in return.

By the way, the word "clubs" is capitalized more than once. I think that’s a quaint relic of Baseball’s practice in official documents. They still capitalize all sorts of things. Of which I approve! More capitalization and hyphens make all of us richer, I say.

Anyway, "BC" is Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. It’s not surprising that the Sox valued Mike Carp higher than other clubs; after all, they were the ones who plucked him from the scrap heap, and of course that move paid huge dividends when Carp posted an .885 OPS last season (granted, October didn’t go quite as well).

Of course, now it looks like the Red Sox should have taken whatever they could get for Carp, who’s driven in six runs all season. While Carp’s hardly the reason for the Red Sox’s disappointing season, he sure hasn’t helped.

I digress.

All that talk — and by the way, if you really want to read all the talk, Deadspin’s been kind enough to offer a reader-friendly version — and yet there’s really just one particularly thrilling bit of something we didn’t know already:

11/15/2014: JL talked to DJ and said we had interest in Stanton. DJ said he doesn’t think he’ll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be Springer and Correa. JL said that would not work. JL posited a deal around Cosart and Deshields."

Classic bargaining! I suggest something that you won’t accept, and you don’t. You suggest something that I won’t accept, and I don’t. Maybe once in a great while, we’ll find something in the middle that works for everybody. But usually not. Which is the real takeaway from these logs: Many things are discussed, few actually consummated. Same as it ever was.

Fortunately, breaking up the innocuousness is a hint of controversy:

I’m sorry about having to say this, but … I don’t believe Jennings. You know, Occam’s Razor. Last November, what would someone associated with the Astros have to gain by entering an ersatz conversation into the database? Right. Nothing. Meanwhile, the Marlins have a great deal to gain, theoretically anyway, from denying that Stanton was ever even remotely available to other clubs. Admitting the (apparent) truth would only alienate the few fans they’ve still got, and might also get into Stanton’s head, somehow. You just can’t tell, so better to deny, deny, deny.

What’s funny about this? In a perfect world, Jennings would stand up and announce to the world, "Yes, it’s true! We love Giancarlo Stanton, and I know I swore on a stack of Jeff Conine bobbleheads we wouldn’t trade him. But it would have been malpractice if I didn’t ask for George Springer and Carlos Correa, two of the premier prospects in the game. Especially considering our reasonable concerns about Stanton’s injury history."

Then again, maybe Jennings doesn’t need to tell you that. I just did. But anyone who might be offended by the truth quite probably isn’t reading this. So everybody wins. It’s also true, in a sort of technical sense, that Jennings has some wiggle room here. He could, when pressed, say something like, "We never offered Stanton to anyone. We did say there’s no point even talking about anything until you’re willing to give us x and y. Which never happened."

Then again, Jennings did (according to Nightengale) use the words "completely fabricated." Which, again, has us wondering why someone who works for the Astros would completely fabricate a conversation.

OK, playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, whoever hacked into Hal2000 or MajorTom or whatever could and might have just added something inflammatory, just to make our lives a little more interesting. A sort of public service, if you will. But that seems unlikely, doesn’t it? What seems likely is that the Clubs engaged briefly in a semi-serious conversation about Giancarlo Stanton. Just as virtually every team, ever, has discussed for at least a moment the possibility of trading its signature player.

This story will continue to play out. Other Clubs will redouble their security efforts. When GMs and their assistants get together, anybody who works for the Astros will have to grin and bear it. And I suppose Dan Jennings might have to take Giancarlo Stanton aside and make up a good story.

You know. Same as it ever was.