Major League Baseball came down with the hammer on Monday afternoon, forcing the Cardinals to give two draft picks and $2 million to the Astros.
In a decision that’s been heavily criticized from all angles since it was announced, Major League Baseball revealed on Monday afternoon that it has finally decided how to punish the St. Louis Cardinals for their role in hacking a Houston Astros database. The Cardinals were forced to surrender their top two draft picks (the 56th and 75th picks overall) as well as $2 million in fines to the Houston Astros.
Former scouting director Chris Correa, who is currently serving a 46-month stint in federal prison for his role in the scandal, was also permanently barred from working in Major League Baseball. Correa is believed to have been a lone wolf while illegally hacking into Astros proprietary data from 2013 through at least 2014. Regardless, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred felt the need to punish the Cardinals organization for employing him and failing to be more responsible.
The Cardinals prepared well for the punishments, surrendering their first-round pick for the 2017 draft when they signed free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler, who was given a qualifying offer by the Chicago Cubs, earlier this winter. While the $2 million shouldn’t affect them at all–consider, for instance, that most experienced minor-league free agents now get a guarantee of at least $1 million if they make a big-league club out of spring training–they also prepped for a possible loss of significant cash, exceeding the international bonus pool last summer.
The players that they acquired during that period, including Top 30 organizational prospects such as Randy Arozarena, Jonathan Machado, and Victor Garcia, should help compensate for the loss of talent they’ll experience by missing out on the early rounds of the draft this year. The Cardinals have a rather extensive history of drafting highly-touted high school prospects who have hard college commitments and then wooing them with above-slot signing bonuses anyway, so it’s likely that even the loss of draft picks won’t be that drastic.