On Friday, Chris Correa, the former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals, entered a guilty plea to five counts of unauthorized access into the Houston Astros’ private database of player information. Correa had served as the Cardinals’ manager of baseball development before he took the job as scouting director.
Correa, fired by the Cardinals last year, was targeted by the FBI after MLB discovered that information dealing with possible player trades was released anonymously online in 2014.
According to Sports Illustrated, the break-in of the Astros’ database allegedly came as a result of an attempt to embarrass Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who had previously worked as an executive with the Cardinals.
The New York Times reported that when Luhnow left to join the Astros, Cardinals’ personnel though he might have taken ideas of theirs and proprietary baseball information.
Luhnow had been targeted for years by the established baseball hierarchy as he used mathematical data to make personnel decisions. Hired by Astros’ owner Jim Crane in 2011, Luhnow was given free reign, allowing the Astros to suffer through some poor seasons before they started flourishing. Crane told Luhnow, “You get beat up on ESPN. Everyone’s an expert who will give you their opinion. But I can take the heat.”