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Someone hacked the Astros’ “Ground Control” database and got their internal trade discussions

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Hacking anyone or any company’s private communications is underhanded and most likely illegal. People do it all the time, of course, but that doesn’t change it. What also doesn’t change: third parties’ interest in the hacked information, regardless of the legality of the hack. Especially when the hackee is famous or notable.

The Houston Astros are famous and notable and now Deadspin is reporting that their highly-publicized internal communication and evaluation system called “Ground Control” got hacked. Among the stolen data which has been posted online are internal discussions about a possible trade for Giancarlo Stanton last year, the leadup to the Bud Norris trade and discussions between the Astros and Yankees back during spring training in which the Yankees offered Ichiro Suzuki to Houston, largely for cash.

The data comes in the form of notes, not unlike you’d see in a customer service database in which representatives make a note each time you call in. Like this, reflecting conversations about Bud Norris in the runup to last year’s trade deadline:

“7/29/2013″,” SF said they wouldn’t include Mejia on top of Blackburn.”
“7/29/2013″,” SF said they still had interest in Norris. JL said they would have to include both Blackburn and Mejia to be competitive.”
“7/29/2013″,” AA texted JL and asked what a package around Stroman might look like. JL said Stoman + Gose would be in consideration.”
“7/29/2013″,” BC texted JL and said they couldn’t include Boegarts, Cecchini, Webster, or Bradley but thought they had enough depth to still make an appealing package. JL wrote back and asked if they would consider a package around Barnes and Owens.”

On the one hand: let’s smile at the Astros asking for a package including Xander Boegarts for Bud freakin’ Norris. On the other hand: let us not pretend that we have much of a clue how most trade discussions go. You don’t get the sky if you don’t ask for the stars, right?

And no matter what you think of all of this, I think it’s OK to think that (a) whoever hacked into the Astros’ database is probably gonna get in big trouble; and (b) the Astros probably need to talk to someone about data security.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.