By Matt Ambrose,
Sports Business Writer
Major League Baseball announced Monday that the Cardinals would be forced to hand over their top two draft picks in the 2017 MLB Draft, along with $2 million, to the Houston Astros, as punishment for the Cardinals hacking into the Astros databases.
The hack was carried out by former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa, who is now serving a 46 month sentence in prison for the crime. Additionally to the punishments handed down to the Cardinals organization, the MLB placed Correa on the “permanently ineligible list.”
“We respect the Commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” Cardinals Chairman and CEO said after the punishment was handed down. “Commissioner Manfred’s findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.”
Court documents show that Correa began hacking into the Astros’ databases beginning in January 2012. Over a 2 ½ year period, he accessed the Astros private documents 48 times, accessing the accounts of five Astros employees. Recent documents have shown that Correa did this in response to a Sports Illustrated article from 2014 that praised the Astros for their bevy of young prospects.
“This has been a long and challenging process for all of us, especially those within our baseball operations department,” Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said in a statement. “We have learned a great deal along the way and we have taken additional steps to ensure that something like this doesn’t ever happen again.”
The Astros also released a statement in regards to the punishment handed down Commissioner Rob Manfred. “This unprecedented award by the Commissioner’s Office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions,” the statement said. “Our staff has invested a great deal of time in support of the government, legal and league investigations and are pleased to have closure on this issue.”
Back on January 8th, 2016, Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a private computer for hacking into the Astros’ analytical and scouting databases throughout 2013 and 2014. Correa was given his 46 month sentence back on July 18th, 2016 and was also forced to pay restitution to the Astros as a result of his actions.
Both the FBI and the Cardinals organization conducted their own respective investigations into the situation. The Cardinals fired Correa back in 2015 when their internal investigation began. Throughout the investigation, the Cardinals had said that their findings showed that Correa acted alone in his breach of the Astros’ databases.
“The conduct is contrary to everything the Cardinal organization is about,” Mozeliak said last Monday. “No one in the Cardinal organization directed or authorized him to access the Astros’ data base or knew he was viewing Astros’ confidential and proprietary information.” The punishment is harsh for the Cardinals, but both teams are glad to see this debacle come to an end.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 7th print edition.
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