St. Louis Cardinals front office officials are being investigated by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors for hacking into the Houston Astros internal networks, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the Cardinals were able to tap into the Astros' internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports. The FBI's Houston field office reportedly is heading the investigation and has progressed enough that subpoenas have been served.
Major League Baseball "has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros' baseball database," a spokesperson for commissioner Rob Manfred said in a written statement. “Once investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement, we will evaluate next steps and make decisions promptly.”
According to the report, the hacking took place in part as an act of revenge against Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who had been a successful but polarizing executive with the Cardinals. The Astros hired Luhnow in December 2011, and he has helped rebuild the once-floundering franchise, which is leading the AL West.
In 2013, the Astros' internal discussions about statistics and players were compromised, according to the report. Investigators believe that the Cardinals were worried that Luhnow had taken their idea of an organizational computer network, which housed all their baseball operations information. The Cardinals, according to investigators, applied a master list of passwords used by Luhnow and other former employees during their time with the club to gain access to the Astros' database.
The Cardinals, who have made at least the NLCS in each of the past four seasons, have the best record in baseball at 42-21.
Update: The St. Louis Cardinals issued the following statement today regarding the investigation into last year’s security breach involving the Houston Astros:
“The St. Louis Cardinals are aware of the investigation into the security breach of the Houston Astros’ database. The team has fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so. Given that this is an ongoing federal investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further.”