Former scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Correa is currently serving a 46-month term in prison for hacking into another teams scouting database. But that isn’t new information. What is new, is that the sanctions will finally be given.
This incident happened three years ago. Correa, a then member of the St. Louis Cardinals front office, was hacking into the Houston Astros scouting and analytics database to get whatever edge he could. It was a year and a half after that when there was a confirmation of guilt by a Cardinals employee. And finally six months ago there was sentencing for the guilty party.
That brings this incident to present day. The hope of both Major League Baseball and the organization is that the punishment decision will be made before the start of Spring Training. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt Jr. said, “I know the goal is, for the commissioner, to get things completed by late January, hopefully early February at the latest.”
The remaining questions revolve around the severity of the punishment and what it will affect. Major League Baseball has taken it’s time to make sure this investigation is done correctly. But since the investigation is open, no one outside of it quite knows what is to come. It can only be expected that the sanctions will be set in place to affect either the draft or international signings. Or both.
One thing is for certain, the organization is waiting patiently to find out what will come of the investigation. So far, the 2016 draft class looks strong on many fronts highlighted by players like Delvin Perez and Dakota Hudson. So a loss of draft picks in 2017 would pose a very interesting scenario of what is to come in the future.
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If the punishments affect international signing, then the St. Louis Cardinals could potentially lose the ability to sign internationally all together. Another possibility would be a reduced bonus pool. Either way it could potentially hurt the team. Perhaps in preparation for this, the Cardinals were very active this year in signing international prospects like Jonathan Machado and Randy Arozarena.
It would appear the front office was preparing for the worst and hoping for better. Which is the best plan given the imminent punishment coming down on the organization. The punishment will depend entirely on what Commissioner Rob Manfred decides to do, but it may not be as hurtful as he would intend it to be.
Because of the necessary investigation, this whole punishment is comparable to a slow curve that is going to hit a batter. The batter can see it coming, and he can prepare himself however he sees fit, but in the end he is going to get hit by the ball.
The St. Louis Cardinals are just waiting to get hit. The thing about baseball, though, is that the affects of this punishment will not be seen for a few years. Any prospects the Cards lose will have needed time to mature in the minors. Which can be remedied through trades and free agency anyway.