Cardinals GM John Mozeliak on Astros hack: “Unequivocally, I knew nothing about this …”

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Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak issued a fairly vanilla statement Wednesday morning on the allegations that his organization had hacked into “Ground Control,” the Astros’ internal communication and evaluation system. Here is Mozeliak’s statement in full, via a press release from the Cardinals …

“The alleged conduct has no place in our game. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in every facet of our organization. It has been that way forever and is certainly true today. We are committed to finding out what happened. To the extent we can substantiate that these allegations have merit, we will take appropriate action against anyone involved.”

Not much there to work with. But in a followup interview Wednesday evening with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Mozeliak opened up. We’re pulling quotes here. You should read the entire article.

“It’s frustrating,” Mozeliak told USA Today, “and to some degree, a level of embarrassment. Dealing with this is not easy. We always have taken a lot of pride to do things right. We want to get to the bottom of this. We’re in the same position as the government, to get to the bottom of it, and we’re cooperating with them to do so.

“Unequivocally, I knew nothing about this. I don’t know the outcome of this, or where it’s going to go, but our hope is that when everything comes to light, people will realize that it wasn’t something that was organizational-wide. It shouldn’t be something that takes away from any of the success this organization has had.”

As the hours and days go by since the initial New York Times report, this hack or breach or whatever you want to call it is looking more and more like the work of a few lower-level analysts in the Cardinals’ system. It’s still a very serious offense — jail time and fines could be coming for the perpetrators — but it’s probably not something that Mozeliak or anyone high up in the Cardinals organization purposely coordinated.

That doesn’t mean that Mozeliak is completely in the clear. What if the person or people who gained access to “Ground Control” then passed that information up the chain? Even a single email to an address connected to Mozeliak could spell trouble. Federal investigators are known to be looking into the Cardinals’ internal communications — they seized hard drives from Busch Stadium in February. Also at play here is that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is probably going to want to set some kind of precedent for cyber crime.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.