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Christopher Correa, the former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been sentenced to almost four years in prison for hacking the Houston Astros’ player database and email system three years ago. Correa’s criminal activity included viewing a lot of the Astros’ online scouting databases to see draft prospects and reviewing the staff’s rankings of players. This cyber hacking is not known to have previously occurred in MLB.
The sentencing comes after he pleaded guilty in January to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer. This sentencing may seem harsh, but it could have been longer—the maximum sentence per count would have put him behind bars for nearly 25 years. He will most likely be eligible for early release, if he behaves well, and could leave prison after serving just 39 months.
It will be interesting to see where the MLB will take this unprecedented case. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may punish Correa or the Cardinals further. The team could lose draft picks, collect fines or see team officials suspended.
The case has brought up a lot of questions of what will be done in the future to prevent cyber breaches among teams. One idea is for Manfred to hire an investigator to study the data breach and help stop this from occurring in the future. Regardless, this is a sign of the times for all pro leagues and teams as data is the new oil, and teams sometimes stop at nothing for a competitive edge.