A number of investigations that resulted in an executive being sent to prison while denting the cherished reputation of the St. Louis Cardinals came to a closure on Monday when Major League Baseball leveled penalties that limit the ability of the club to acquire players this summer by sending a pair of draft picks to Houston.
On Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled that the Cardinals, as an organization were liable for misconduct of an employee, former director of scouting Chris Correa, who accessed the internal database of the Astros illegally.
Because of that, Manfred issued the league’s harshest ever punishment since becoming commissioner. The Cardinals two top picks in the upcoming draft will be given to the Astros. The cap money that is attached to the two picks will also go to the Astros.
In addition, Manfred fined St. Louis $2 million, which is the largest ever fine for a team and the most Manfred, by rule, is allowed to assess. The money will go to Houston for damages.
The commissioner put Correa, who is in federal prison for 46 months, on the list of permanently ineligible, which takes effect immediately.
It is the same list that has others banned from the game such as Pete Rose and members of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox.
Officials from the Cardinals said the commissioner’s ruling closed the process they called long and challenging.
The conduct is against the St. Louis Cardinals organization stand for said John Mozeliak the general manager during a Monday news conference.
Bill DeWitt III, who is team president, stood in the back of the room quietly. Mozeliak said the message the commissioner gave is that this type of thing cannot happen again, which is evidenced by how harsh the penalty was.
Houston supplied a prepared statement, which lauded how the commissioner sends a message of how severe the action was.
Since the sentencing of Correa in July, St. Louis has braced for the verdict of Manfred, one that would set a huge precedent moving forward as baseball’s data driven clubs enter the cyber espionage and hacking age.
Houston filed a formal claim to Manfred’s office after the guilty plea by Correa. The Department of Investigation of MLB started its investigation following the sentencing in hope it would receive assistance from federal investigators and the U.S. attorney.
However, it was difficult gaining access to information and Correa would not speak to MLB. However, court documents unsealed a week ago helped baseball speed up its process of reaching a conclusion.