Chris Correa (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

MLB’s punishment to the Cardinals and award to the Astros in the Chris Correa hacking case has been announced.

The punishment from Major League Baseball to the St. Louis Cardinals and award to the Houston Astros in the Chris Correa hacking case has been announced.

With former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa serving 46 months in a Federal penitentiary, all that remained to close the case of his illegal entry into Houston Astros computer systems was ruling of punishment from Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.

That came down on Monday in the following order.

Major League Baseball

First, it should be noted that the Astros made a claim against the Cardinals for compensation, against which the commissioner had to rule. The results are that instead of the Cardinals simply forfeiting their top two remaining draft picks, the selections and their associated cap budget of over $1.85 million have been awarded to Houston.

St. Louis had already given up its 2017 first-rounder as the result of signing free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler.

The result is that the Cardinals will not make their initial selection in this June’s draft until the third round, number 94 overall. Their remaining cap allocation to cover rounds 3-10 is $2,072,300, the least of the 30 organizations by a substantial margin.

My commentary

First reactions from those not associated either team’s fan base seem be oriented toward the direction of the Cardinals getting off fairly lightly.

Recent disclosures of court proceedings made it clear that Correa had established a long pattern of illegally accessing Houston’s systems while carrying out his job duties with the Cardinals. The penalties establish both Houston’s loss and the Cardinals’ potential gain.

St. Louis’ 2017 draft was already scuttled by the Fowler signing and the organization has gone considerably over budget on the current July 2nd international class. The latter offers a bit of a talent buffer against that to be lost this June.

The impact of the $2,000,000 in cash to be forwarded from St. Louis to Houston is relatively small in the context of the size of these businesses, yet is the maximum fine allowable under MLB rules.

Correa’s lifetime ban from Major League Baseball is likely a symbolic move as his conviction should have already made him radioactive to the rest of the game.

It is clear that no one other than Correa has been charged with any offense. Though Correa had stated in court that he informed "colleagues" of his actions, he refused to provide MLB investigators with further details, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.

The investigations, which first came to light in June 2015, now seem closed. It is clearly time to move on.

Footnote

In their public statements, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak seem to agree.

The team’s release follows.

The St. Louis Cardinals Chairman and CEO William O. DeWitt Jr., and Cardinals Senior Vice President and General Manager John Mozeliak, shared their thoughts regarding the results of the Office of Commissioner’s investigation into the breach of the Houston Astros’ database by a former Cardinals employee.

“We respect the Commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” said DeWitt. “Commissioner Manfred’s findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.”  

When the Cardinals first became aware of the allegations, the team hired former US Attorney Jim Martin and the law firm of Dowd Bennett to conduct an internal investigation of the matter and to assist the United States Justice Department with its investigation.  The Government’s investigation, the team’s investigation and the Commissioner’s investigation all revealed that the breach of the Astros’ database was isolated to the actions of a single individual.

“This has been a long and challenging process for all of us, especially those within our baseball operations department,” said Mozeliak. “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.”

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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