Former scouting director pleads guilty
Chris Correa, former scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, pled guilty on Jan. 8 to five counts of Unauthorized Access to a Protected Computer, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C §1030.
Correa accessed the computer database of the Houston Astros, a protected computer under §1030 (e)(B) (a computer used in and affecting interstate commerce) on five separate occasions in 2013 and 2014, without authorization and with the intent of obtaining information, in violation of §1030 (a)(2)(C).
Correa appeared before a U.S District Court judge in Houston on Jan. 8 and pled guilty to all five counts. The maximum penalty for the five counts is five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution. The sentences of imprisonment may run either concurrently or consecutively, as per the discretion of the judge. Factors to be considered in sentencing are the nature of the offense and the past criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Correa admitted accessing the Astros database, Ground Control, because he suspected that Jeff Luhnow, Astros GM and former employee of the Cardinals, had taken proprietary information belonging to the Cardinals with him to Houston to use to build the database there. Correa accessed confidential scouting information as well as trade discussions and player evaluations from the Astros database. Correa also accessed email accounts belonging to Astros employees who formerly worked for the Cardinals, using variations of the passwords the employees had with the Cardinals. The total value of the information obtained by Correa is estimated at $1.7 million dollars. The last intrusion into the database occurred on March 10, 2014, according to the indictment.
Correa was promoted to the position of Scouting Director in December of 2014. At the time of the intrusions, Correa was the Director of Baseball Development. The investigation of the computer intrusions began after an MLB request when Astros internal emails were posted anonymously on the internet in the summer of 2014. Correa was dismissed from his position in July of 2015. Correa had begun his employment with the Cardinals in 2009, and worked under Luhnow while he was employed with the Cardinals. Luhnow left the Cardinals to become the Astros GM in 2011.
Sentencing for Correa is set for April 11, 2016. Correa is free on $20,000 bail until the sentencing hearing.
Edmonds falls off HOF ballot in first year
Former outfielder and Cardinals Hall of Famer Jim Edmonds, in his first year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, did not receive sufficient votes to remain on the ballot for another year. Edmonds received 11 votes, which is 2.5% of the total, in the election results announced on Jan. 6. 5% or more is required to remain on the ballot.
Edmonds played for the Cardinals from 2000-2007 as the starting center fielder. The left-handed hitter has a career slash line of .284/.376/.527 with 393 home runs and 1199 RBI. His slash line in his eight seasons with the Cardinals is .285/.393/.555 with 241 HRs and 713 RBI.
Edmonds won eight Gold Gloves as a center fielder, six while playing for the Cardinals. He was also a four time All-Star and amassed 64.5 fWAR and 60.3 rWAR during his 17-year career. Edmonds is ranked in the top ten of center fielders of all time in home runs (393) and SLG (.527) and is one of eight center fielders to record at least five 30-homer seasons.
Edmonds joins former Cardinals player and coach Mark McGwire in falling off the ballot. McGwire was in his tenth and final year being considered, and received 12.3% of the vote. Also appearing on the ballot for the first time and not receiving 5% of the vote were former Cardinals David Eckstein, Mark Grudzielanek, Troy Glaus and Randy Winn.
Two former Cardinals remain on the ballot, reliever Lee Smith, and outfielder Larry Walker. Smith, grandfathered in when the HOF rules changed from 15 years on the ballot to ten, has one more year in his candidacy and received 34.1% of the vote. Walker just completed his sixth year on the ballot and received 15.5% of the vote.
Korean reliever’s signing close
It was reported on Sunday, Jan, 10, that Korean relief pitcher Seung-hwan Oh is to sign with the Cardinals, pending a physical on Monday, Jan. 11. Derek Shore of The Cardinal Nation has an updated report here.
The 33-year-old Oh spent nine seasons playing professional baseball in Korea and two seasons in Japan. As such, he is a true free agent and does not require a posting fee to sign. Seung-hwan was a closer the last two seasons for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League and before that in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). He has a career record of 32-20 with an ERA of 1.81, and his repertoire of pitches reportedly includes a mid-90s fastball, a slider, and a curveball. Seung-Hwan bears the nickname “The Final Boss” among others.
Seung-hwan was assessed a suspension of 72 games by the KBO for gambling in a foreign nation, which is illegal in Korea. Seung-Hwan’s last season in the KBO was in 2013, so he would only serve the suspension if he returned to the KBO. It has been reported that Seung-Hwan’s gambling activities did not include betting on baseball.
The financial terms of a potential contract have been reported as two years, $11 million with a third-year club option.
Cardinals’ preseason activities to begin
This coming weekend, the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up and Cardinals Caravans are set to begin. Tickets for the 2016 Winter Warm-Up went on sale on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The site for all information and links about the event can be found here. The Warmup is scheduled to run from Saturday, Jan. 16, through Monday, Jan. 18. The annual St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner, a separate event, will be held on Sunday evening.
The annual Cardinals Caravan schedule was revealed this past week with the caravans beginning on Friday, Jan. 15. The caravans run in six regions of Cardinal Nation with stops in 22 cities. Each caravan consists of current players, one former player, and one broadcaster serving as an emcee. The first 400 children at each stop ages 15 and under will receive a ticket for a free autograph. Autographs are restricted to children.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Korean journalist Daniel Kim reported first via Twitter that the Cardinals were close to signing Korean reliever Seung-hwan Oh. Kim later tweeted that the reliever would undergo a physical on Monday, Jan. 11, and if he passed would become a Cardinal.
There are no transactions to report.
There is no new injury news to report.
The deadline for filing for arbitration is Tuesday, Jan. 12. Four arbitration-eligible Cardinals - Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Brandon Moss and Matt Adams - will be filing on or about that day, unless they sign sooner.
The 2016 Winter Warm-Up and Cardinals Caravans begin this week. Caravans will begin on Friday, Jan. 15, while the first day of the Winter Warm-Up is Saturday, Jan. 16. Admission passes for the Winter Warm-Up can be bought online here and autograph tickets here. The schedule of the Caravans can be found here.
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