After a 19-month investigation, Major League Baseball reached a decision into the hacking of the Astros’ database by the Cardinals and the man responsible. Former Cardinals director of scouting Christopher Correa has been issued a permanent ban, effective immediately, and the organization will forfeit their two highest draft picks in the 2017 MLB draft to the Astros.
"The Houston Astros support MLB’s ruling and award of penalties,” the Astros said in a statement. “This unprecedented award by the commissioner's office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions. Our staff has invested a great deal of time in support of the government, legal and league investigations and are please to have closure on this issue."
On July 18, 2016, Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison for his actions and ordered to pay the Astros $279,038.65 in restitution for damages. On Monday, it was announced that because Correa held a front office position and therefore represented the team, the Cardinals would also be required to pay the Astros $2 million within the next 30 days.
The Cardinals had the No. 56 and 75 picks in the 2017 draft, a second-round selection and a Compensation Round B selection, respectively. The Astros will now have those picks, and the Cardinals are now without draft picks until the third round, when they make their 94th pick.
The decision is being criticized for being lenient by some already, that the punishment doesn’t go nearly far enough into docking the Cardinals for the damage caused to the Houston organization. However, Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated tweeted that Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe doesn’t agree.
"I don't think they got off easy by any stretch,” Kibbe told Reiter.
In the release, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Astros “suffered material harm” and “substantial negative publicity” as a result of the hack and the lengthy investigation — both from MLB and the government.
An FBI investigation was launched roughly a year after the Astros’ database was hacked and 10 months of draft information was leaked, which included internal scouting reports, discussions, and medical evaluations for potential draftees. Correa, who was terminated from his employment with the Cardinals in July 2015, declined to cooperate with the investigation in any way.