The St Louis Cardinals were ordered to pay US$2 million in damages by the MLB on Monday and will forfeit their first two picks in this year’s draft as a result of illegal computer hacking of the Houston Astros’ database.
The MLB completed its investigation regarding the breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database by a former Cardinals employee, scouting director Chris Correa.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the ruling, ordering the overall 56th and 75th draft picks of the Cardinals to be awarded to Houston and for the Cardinals to pay the Astros US$2 million within 30 days.
In his ruling, Manfred said the investigation found no evidence that anyone besides Correa was responsible for accessing the Astros’ information, but said that he was “holding the Cardinals responsible for his conduct.”
Manfred ruled that the Astros had “suffered material harm as a result of Mr Correa’s conduct.”
The Cardinals fired Correa in 2015 after their own internal investigation. He is to be placed on the “permanently ineligible list” effective immediately on the orders of Manfred.
“We respect the commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” Cardinals chairman and chief executive William DeWitt Jr said in a statement. “Commissioner Manfred’s findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.”
On Jan. 8 last year, Correa pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer for intruding into the Astros’ e-mail system and analytical scouting database in 2013 and 2014.
A year ago, the court sentenced Correa to 46 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay the Astros US$279,038.65 as restitution.
“This has been a long and challenging process for all of us, especially those within our baseball operations department,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. “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 issued a statement supporting the ruling and penalties.
“This unprecedented award by the Commissioner’s Office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions,” the Astros’ 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.”
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