The last time we checked in on the Cardinals hacking scandal – you didn’t forget about that, did you? – was back on February 29.
At the time, news was rolling out that the court that accepted Chris Correa’s guilty plea for his role in the criminal activity would be sentencing him on April 18 (later pushed back).
In addition to whatever punishment Correa ultimately received, mind you, MLB is/was expected to levy additional disciplinary measures on the Cardinals organization as a whole.
At ESPN, Buster Olney updates the story, with some relatively better news for the Cardinals, than for the rest of baseball. Specifically, with the MLB Draft coming up in short order, Olney writes, many executives and front offices across baseball expected a resolution before the draft (implying that the loss of draft picks/bonus slots would be a part of the punishment, not unlike the New England Patriots’ loss of their first round pick).
Unfortunately, the necessary processes in the Correa case might play out long enough so that the Cardinals’ 2016 draft is not impacted. Indeed, Correa’s sentencing has already been delayed. So, according to Olney, “While the possibility of significant draft-related penalties still loom for the Cardinals, the chance of those affecting this year’s draft diminish with each day that passes.”
But I will add, this could actually work out worse for the Cardinals. Consider, in 2015 the Cardinals finished with the best record in baseball. That means that in the 2016 draft, they will have the least valuable natural pick (minus the picks lost to qualified free agents) in the first round. Indeed, they’re scheduled to have the 23rd overall pick in 2016 draft, but there’s a chance that pick could be much higher (better) in 2017.
So, then, would you prefer the guaranteed loss of the 23rd overall pick in 2016, or gamble that the Cardinals might be a lot worse in 2016, yielding the loss of a much higher pick next year?
Either way, I think I can speak for everyone when I say I’m hoping for a quick, decisive and strong punishment for the blatant disregard of the rules. As Brett wrote previously, this is a serious matter that deserves a serious resolution.