HOUSTON -- The Astros reacted sternly Monday afternoon after text messages containing internal correspondence between team officials regarding trade talks with other clubs, some of which were about deals that came to fruition, were released on the website Deadspin.com.
The club issued a statement hours after the confidential information was made made public condemning the security breach, and that it is working with Major League Baseball security and the FBI to determine the party or parties responsible for the leak. In the statement, the Astros said the information was obtained illegally from an outside source and that they intend to prosecute those involved.
"It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information," the statement read. "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."
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club learned of the security breach about a month ago. The information was released through a website in which users can anonymously share hacked information, and it was then picked up by Deadspin.
The information, taken from the team's internal database called "Ground Control," detailed 10 months worth of internal trade discussions concerning several players including pitchers Jose Veras and Bud Norris, who were dealt at the Trade Deadline last year.
The Astros have been one of baseball's busiest teams at the Trade Deadline the past four years, so it's no surprise they have been involved in heavy discussions with other clubs.
"It's a very unfortunate circumstance when somebody illegally on the outside breaks into the propriety database that we have," Luhnow said. "Not all the information that was published was accurate. Some of it was not. I really can't get into what's accurate and what wasn't. Some of it was, but we're going to pursue it and try to find out who did it and prosecute them.
"It's not something that should be happening. We're doing everything we can to upgrade our security to make sure it doesn't happen again. We've been working on that since we discovered this. It's unfortunate it's out there and it's unfortunate that other teams are affected and individual players. It reflects the age we live in. People are trying to steal information, get information, whether it's legally or illegally. In this case, it was illegally obtained and it's unfortunate."
Luhnow said he reached out recently to Astros players who were mentioned in trade discussions in the conversations, such as Jason Castro and George Springer, as well as to the other teams who also had confidential information revealed in the conversations.
"I've had conversations with a lot of other teams that were referenced in there and generally they were understanding and supportive," Luhnow said. "I'm sure they weren't happy about the fact, whether they're real or not, the conversations referencing their team or their players were referenced."
Luhnow said the club has taken necessary measures to improve the security on its database, while informing other teams to take a look at their own security.
"I don't think anybody can say for sure any system is 100 percent secure," he said. "We're working on it; we've done a security review and will continue to do more. This is information is important in our industry as it is in any other industry, and we'll do whatever we can to protect the information."