After a lengthy investigation and deliberation process, Major League Baseball has stripped the St. Louis Cardinals’ top two draft picks in the 2017 Draft and fined the team $2 million in connection with a hacking scandal.
The scandal, which targeted prospect information on computers owned by the Houston Astros, sent shockwaves throughout baseball, and the punishment is a culmination of a nearly two-year long process.
The picks, the 56th and 75th picks in the draft, will both go to the Astros as part of the punishment, as will the $2 million fine, which was the maximum allowable penalty under MLB’s Constitution.
In June 2015, news broke that the Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking into the Astros’ proprietary scouting system. Eventually, the Cardinals fired front office executive Chris Correa, who orchestrated the hacks by using passwords he had from when then-Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow (now the GM of the Astros) was in St. Louis, and Correa was also sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for the incident.
Court documents that were unsealed last week showed that Correa accessed the Astros’ database nearly 50 times, and that he targeted the accounts of five different Astros employees.
In his ruling on the matter, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the league is “holding the Cardinals responsible for (Correa’s) conduct, but concluded that they lacked evidence to hold any other members of the front office responsible for the incident.
“We respect the Commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” Cardinals CEO William O. 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.”