Astros: The Cardinals punished for Hack-gate, lose two picks

Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cardinals are punished for hacking the Astros, but is it enough of a punishment to prevent it in the future?

The St. Louis Cardinals have finally been hit with the penalties from hacking the Houston Astros. The commissioner, Rob Manfred, made it clear that no one besides Chris Correa knew about the hacking, but the team did benefit.

While Correa is spending 46 months in a Federal Prison, the possible punishment has hung over the Cardinals for a while. The Cardinal front office is probably glad that it is over, because of the uncertainty of what would happen.

We talked about possible punishments for the Cardinals last night on Talking Stros. Unfortunately, that segment was not recorded. My co-host Brandon called it, he said the Cardinals would lose two picks. This is exactly what happened to the Cardinals today. There were many reports on the verdict that was released today.

The Verdict.

According to Chris Cotillo, the Cardinals will have to give the Astros two picks, the 56th (2nd round) and 75th (3rd round) in the 2017 draft. They would also receive $2 million dollars from the Cardinals as well. The $2 million dollars will be added to the bonus pool that the Astros can sign prospects after the draft. I’m assuming that it will also be deducted from the Cardinals own bonus pool.

“I find that the Astros suffered material harm as a result of Mr. Correa’s conduct.” – Rob Manfred.

According to Jake Kaplan, the 56th pick comes with an estimated $1.1 million allotment, and the 75th pick comes with an estimated $730 thousand allotment. The $2 million dollar penalty must be paid to the Astros in 30-days. Correa is also banned from MLB baseball for life. No other Cardinals front office personnel will be punished.

This is a big deal. Some people feel like the punishment is a little light. Part of the reason is that the Cardinals were required to give up their highest two picks in this year’s draft. However, the Cardinals had already lost their first-rounder signing Dexter Fowler earlier this offseason. The Cardinals could have know that would happen, so they could have tried to avoid giving up the first round pick. That is just me speculating.

The Evidence.

The Astros released a statement. “This unprecedented award by the Commissioner’s office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions.” The Astros information was illegally obtained and used by the Cardinals. As mentioned in an earlier article by Jake Kaplan, the hacking began as revenge on the part of Correa. The primary target was not Jeff Luhnow as suspected, but Sig Mejdal was.

Kaplan writes that Correa started accessing the system in January of 2012. He had access to the Astros ‘Ground Control’ for 2.5 years, including at least two drafts. This would be equivalent to someone hacking your Fantasy Baseball rankings to see who they should draft. The Astros have spent time and resources to find the source of the hacking. They have now been rewarded with extra picks and money to sign those picks.

Did the punishment fit the crime?

The Astros now have five picks in the first 100 picks of the 2017 MLB Draft. They now have 15, 53, 56, 75, and 91 according to Chris Cotillo. The Astros could trade the 75th pick because it’s a competitive balance pick.

The Astros were also embarrassed during the hacking when notes about trade discussions were leaked. There was a leaked trade discussion with the Cardinals where two of our top four core players were on the table for Giancarlo Stanton.

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There have been some like Buster Olney a Jeff Sullivan who have said the Cardinals got off light. Sullivan writes that the value of picks decreases as you go deeper into the draft. There is a higher likelihood of a first rounder becoming an impact player than a second or third rounder. As I mentioned earlier, the Cardinals did not have one this year. They could have maybe required a protected first rounder next year, but they wanted it to be over.

Was the punishment enough to prevent someone from doing this again in the future? This was the first time where a hacking scandal of this magnitude happened. It also is the first time where picks are taken away from one team and given to another. Yes, Correa went to federal prison, but the team wasn’t punished too harshly. Correa was clearly the scapegoat here.

Next: Talking Stros with Tyler White

In a generation where students take a picture of their homework, and an app does the work, you know someone will try to get out of doing their homework. Manfred set a precedence for the next time this occurs, but is enough of a punishment? Jeff Luhnow will not comment about this verdict. However, you can imagine both sides are glad it’s over.