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Cardinals fined $2 million, must send two draft picks to Astros as hacking penalty

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The punishment for the incident in which former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa hacked into the Houston Astros scouting and analytics database has been issued: The Cardinals have been fined $2 million and must surrender two draft picks to the Astros.

The picks are their two highest in this year’s draft: a second round pick, which is the 56th overall and a Compensation Round B pick, which is the 75th overall pick. Moreover, Correa,was sentenced to 46 months in prison for the hack, has been placed on the permanently ineligible list and will no longer be able to hold a job in Major League Baseball. The Commissioner has issued a formal set of findings with respect to the matter. They are set out in full below.

The money, in the grand scheme of things, is not much for a major league baseball team. That’s less than the Cardinals will pay reliever Seung-hwan Oh in 2017. The draft picks are more costly, though not substantially so. As the Post-Dispatch reporter earlier this month the Cards spent aggressively in the international market in the past year or so, inspired in part, one can assume, to compensate for the anticipated loss of draft picks due to the sanction that has now been levied.

I’m sure many will question whether this was sufficient punishment for the Cardinals. My personal view is that, as institutional punishment, it’s rather light given what transpired. Others will likely argue that it was too severe due to Manfred’s findings that only Correa was responsible for the hack and the Cards’ liability here was only vicarious.

I think it’s fair to say that the long prison sentence given Correa in this incident — too long if you ask me — is a far greater deterrent to such acts being committed in the future than anything MLB could do to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here are Commissioner Manfred’s findings:

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The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.