The St. Louis Cardinals have yet to be punished for the institutional hacking of the Houston Astros’ information systems in 2013 and 2014.
But discipline is forthcoming.
In fact, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred (who spoke on a number of hot topics lately) the Cardinals and the rest of baseball can expect their punishment this offseason.
Before you begin celebrating the Cardinals (self-inflicted) misfortune, I’ll remind you that they caught quite a break just a few weeks back. That’s when the San Diego Padres received an arguably inordinately light punishment for purposefully hiding the medical treatment provided to players within the league’s central medical information bank. As a result, they were effectively hiding injury information from competitors and trade partners.
But despite the clear, intentional, and organizational misconduct, the punishment is pretty light: the Padres will be without their general manager for 30 days. Nobody else will be punished, and there is no organization-level consequences. The Padres simply had to go 30 days without their GM 1) at the end of a season from which they were already eliminated, and 2) at a time when almost no player transactions occur – it’s just not that impactful. Given that many consider what the Padres did to be worse than the hacking (though that’s not across the board), the Cardinals are probably not sweating too much. We’ll see.
[Brett: Unfortunately, in this instance, time has an antiseptic effect, making us kinda forget just how really, really, really bad this was. The punishment should be significant. But it might not be. And people might not even grouse if it’s not.]
Discipline is discipline, and the rest of the league (especially the Astros) deserve some kind of closure. Apparently, that closure will be handed down this fall/winter:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 5, 2016
Manfred suggested to CBS that this entire process could have been completed sooner, had he gotten a little more help from the U.S. attorney’s office, but, well, what’s the difference now. They’re going to finish their investigation and come to a resolution that is likely to be slightly less impactful than the Padres already pretty light punishment.
If you were hoping for a quick, decisive punishment, we’re well past that. It remains possible that the Cardinals could face the loss of draft picks and/or a fine. The man at the center of the hack, former scouting director Chris Correa, was sentenced this summer to 46 months in prison for his role in the incursion.
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