MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has ordered the St. Louis Cardinals to pay $2million and forfeit its top two picks in this year's draft to the Houston Astros as punishment for a former Cards executive hacking the Astros computer network.
Chris Correa, the Cardinals’ ex-director of amateur scouting, last January pleaded guilty to five criminal charges involving unauthorised access to the Astros database.
The Cardinals fired Correa in 2015, and he is currently serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison.
Cardinals chairman and CEO William O. DeWitt Jr. said in a statement the club supports the commissioner's decision.
“We respect the commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” DeWitt said. “Commissioner Manfred’s findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.”
Baseball officials had been waiting for more information on the case to be released by U.S. District Court before deciding on a punishment, and those documents finally were released last Thursday.
According to the Houston Chronice, Correa hacked into the Astros database 48 times over a period of 2 and a half years, accessing five different Astros employee accounts.
One of those accounts belonged to Sig Mejdal, the Astros' director of decision sciences. A former Cardinals employee, Mejdal reportedly clashed with Correa on several occasions.
Michael Chu, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Correa, said in the unsealed documents that Correa was motivated in part by jealousy of Mejdal, his former supervisor with the Cardinals.
Mejdal was being praised for his work in talent acquisition with the Astros, including a cover story in a 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated.
"Mejdal was one of Correa's rivals," Chu wrote, according to the Chronicle. "And now, this rival was being praised, even though his team had not yet begun to win."
The unsealed court documents also reveal that Correa attempted to access the account of Bo Porter, the Astros manager at the time.
The Cardinals will forfeit the number 56 and Number 75 overall selections in this year's draft.
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