Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa plead guilty to five of twelve charges relating to the 2014 hacking of the Astros’ computer network.  The database Correa hacked into contained scouting reports, statistics, and trade discussions.  Three months before the draft, in March of 2013, Correa downloaded the Astros’ rankings for all players eligible for the 2013 draft, along with their proposed bonuses, injury histories, and expected potential.  During the draft, Correa accessed the database to view information regarding several prospects, three who were ultimately selected by the Cardinals. On July 31st—the trade deadline—Correa again accessed the database and viewed their Astros’ notes regarding their trade discussions with other teams.  The next year, in March, the Astros changed their security protocols after the Houston Chronicle published an article detailing their database.  However, Correa soon found the new web address and password for the database.  Over all, Correa viewed 118 pages of confidential information from March 2013 through June 2014 and, according to US attorney for the Southern District of Texas Kenneth Magidson, inflicted financial damage of $1.7 million.

Correa faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per charge.  His sentencing will take place April 11th.  Besides Correa’s eventual punishment, Major League Baseball could also discipline the Cardinals.  This discipline could take the form of a fine or lost draft picks.  Initial speculation has ranged anywhere from a fine to a potential postseason ban.  However, it seems unlikely that Commissioner Manfred has the authority to issue this sort a penalty under the MLB Constitution.  In addition, this would run contrary to the terms of MLB’s CBA, which specifically lays out the formula for playoff qualification, rather than leaving it to MLB’s discretion.  In addition, issues concerning possible postseason shares would quickly come into play, as the MLB would have to compensate the Cardinal’s players for any potential lost playoff revenue. Therefore, it is likely that Commissioner Manfred will either strip the Cardinals of future draft picks or levy some sort of monetary penalty on the club.

Victoria Roessler

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