Cardinals must give Astros two draft picks this year as penalty for hacking scandal

Chris Correa, the former director of scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Chris Correa, the former director of scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Associated Press

Major League Baseball on Monday handed down its punishment to the St. Louis Cardinals for their hacking scandal.

The Cardinals previously were found to have illegally tapped into the Houston Astros’ baseball operations database. On Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled that the Astros will receive the Cardinals’ first two picks in this year’s draft (Nos. 56 and 75) and the Cardinals will have to pay $2 million to the Astros.

“The Houston Astros support MLB’s ruling and award of penalties,” the Astros said in a news release. “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 pleased to have closure on this issue. We are looking forward to focusing our attention on the 2017 season and the game of baseball.”

Christopher Correa, the Cardinals’ former director of scouting who was found to have gotten into the Astros’ database, was also banned from baseball. Last year, Correa pleaded guilty in federal court to hacking into Houston’s system.

Manfred said in a release that an investigation found that Correa acted alone.

“We respect the Commissioner’s decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter,” Cardinals chairman and CEO William O. DeWitt Jr. said in a news release. “Commissioner Manfred’s findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that court documents show that Correa accessed the Astros data base 48 times in a 30-month span.

Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to at least 2014 and last July was sentenced by a federal judge to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay the Astros $279,038.65 in restitution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff