The St. Louis Cardinals were stripped of their top two picks in this year’s amateur draft Monday and ordered to give them, along with $2 million, to Houston as compensation for hacking the Astros’ e-mail system and scouting database, the final step in an unusual case of cybercrime involving two Major League Baseball teams. Commissioner Rob Manfred also banned former St. Louis executive Christopher Correa for life as he ruled St. Louis must give the 56th and 75th overall picks in June to Houston. Correa, the Cardinals’ director of baseball development until July 2015, pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer. He was sentenced last summer to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay the Astros $279,039 in restitution. St. Louis lost its original top pick, No. 19, as compensation for signing free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler.
The Cardinals’ first pick now will be No. 94 overall. Houston will have five selections in the top 94. The Astros already had slots 15, 53, and 91.
‘‘Although Mr. Correa’s conduct was not authorized by the Cardinals, as a matter of MLB policy, I am holding the Cardinals responsible for his conduct,’’ Manfred wrote. ‘‘A club suffers material harm when an employee of another club illegally accesses its confidential and propriety information, particularly intrusions of the nature and scope present here. In addition, as a result of Mr. Correa’s conduct, the Astros suffered substantial negative publicity and had to endure the time, expense and distraction of both a lengthy government investigation and an MLB investigation.’’
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement the ‘‘findings are fully consistent with our own investigation’s conclusion that this activity was isolated to a single individual.’’
‘‘This has been a long and challenging process for all of us, especially those within our baseball operations department,’’ St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. ‘‘We have learned a great deal along the way and we have taken additional steps to ensure that something like this doesn’t ever happen again.’’
Houston said ‘‘this unprecedented award by the commissioner’s office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions.’’
Correa was employed by the Cardinals from 2009-15. When he was sentenced last July by US District Judge Lynn Hughes, Correa said he was ‘‘overwhelmed with remorse and regret for my actions’’ that cost him his career and his home.
‘‘I violated my values and it was wrong. I behaved shamefully,’’ he said then. ‘‘The whole episode represents the worst thing I've done in my life by far.’’
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters in June 2014 the team had been the victim of hackers who accessed servers and published online months of internal trade talks. Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said Correa accessed the Astros’ system about 60 times over two years.
The FBI said Correa was able to gain access using a password similar to that used by a Cardinals employee who ‘‘had to turn over his Cardinals-owned laptop to Correa along with the laptop’s password’’ when he was leaving for a job with the Astros in 2011. The employee was not identified; Luhnow quit St. Louis for Houston in December of that year to become GM.
Royals give Moss 2-year, $12M deal
The Royals and designated hitter Brandon Moss agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Moss still must pass a physical. Moss hit .225 with 28 homers and 67 RBIs for St. Louis last season . . . The Indians acquired righthander Carlos Frias from the Dodgers for cash. The 27-year-old Frias, who was 6-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 33 games over the past three seasons, was on the disabled list twice last season . . . Free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus and the Rays finalized a one-year, $5 million contract. The 30-year-old, who hit .206 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 107 games last year, can earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses . . . Kurt Suzuki and the Braves finalized their one-year, $1.5 million contract, giving the team another experienced catcher to share time with Tyler Flowers. Suzuki, 33, hit .258 with eight homers and 49 RBIs last season with Minnesota.
Knee injury sidelines 76ers’ Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid missed Monday’s game against the Kings with a left knee contusion and will not travel for games this week against the Mavericks and Spurs. 76ers coach Brett Brown said he still wants Embiid to play in the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend . . . Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will sit out at least another game because of recurring back spasms. An MRI showed no structural damage but he will miss Wednesday’s game against Minnesota. Love left Sunday’s game and did not travel for Monday’s game in Dallas . . . NBA sources told ESPN that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will not be arrested or prosecuted for a Dec. 5 nightclub incident in New York that resulted in teammate Matt Barnes facing misdemeanor assault charges . . . The New York Liberty acquired Kia Vaughn and Bria Hartley from the Washington Mystics in a three-way trade with the Seattle Storm. The Liberty dealt ex-Boston College center Carolyn Swords to the Storm, who sent the No. 6 pick in this year’s WNBA draft to the Mystics. Seattle and Washington also swapped second-round picks this year.
Giants’ Cruz says trip was a mistake
Victor Cruz would like to have a do-over with the Miami boat trip he took with some of his teammates less than a week before the Giants’ playoff loss to the Packers. Cruz and a group of Giants receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., took a private jet to Florida after their regular-season finale. A picture surfaced the following morning with most of them shirtless on a yacht with celebrities. Cruz conceded in an SNY podcast that the trip wasn’t the best idea. “Looking back on it, it definitely wasn’t worth it,” Cruz said . . . Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pulled out of a plan to build a $1.9 billion domed stadium for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. Adelson had pledged $650 million and the Raiders $500 million, with the stadium authority putting up $750 million in Las Vegas tax revenues. Nevada governor Brian Sandoval’s office said the proposal now is for the Raiders to invest $1.15 billion and accept operating responsibilities . . . The Texans hired former Patriots receiver Wes Welker as an offensive/special teams assistant coach, reuniting him with coach Bill O’Brien . . . Sources told NFL.com that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s rehab for a partial tear in his left anterior cruciate ligament is going so well that those involved believe he will not need a full reconstruction prior to next season. Tannehill’s MCL, which was also damaged in the late-season hit, is actually giving him more problems than the ACL. MCL sprains aren’t fixed surgically, and he will be fine long before the season. Tannehill had a healing procedure done by Dr. James Andrews a few weeks following the injury, and he may head to Germany for a knee procedure called Regenokine, a form of platelet-rich plasma therapy made famous by Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Essentially, it takes a patient’s blood, spins it to separate the platelets, then is re-injected into the knee to promote healing . . . Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has submitted an application to play in an independent football league in April, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Hardy, 28, didn’t play last season following a tumultuous 2015 with Dallas because of his domestic violence case in North Carolina. He would not receive a salary for playing in the Spring League, which is designed to give former NFL draft picks a shot to display their talent. The league isn’t affiliated with the NFL but NFL teams plan to send scouts to games and workouts. Spring League officials have extended invitations to former stars including Johnny Manziel and Ray Rice, while other former NFL players have already signed up, including 33-year-old tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
Fanning, BU are too much for Lehigh
Eric Fanning’s five 3-pointers and 27 points led BU men’s basketball to a 76-59 win over Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa. Justin Alston added 11 points for The Terriers (12-10, 7-3 Patriot). Tim Kempton had 18 points and Jordan Cohen 16 for the Mountain Hawks (12-9, 6-4) . . . Gonzaga, the last unbeaten team in Division 1, is the new No. 1 in the AP men’s basketball poll. The Bulldogs (22-0) jumped from third with 46 out of 65 first-place votes. Baylor rose from fifth to second with six first-place votes. Kansas had nine first-place votes but dropped one spot to third. Villanova fell from first to fourth . . . UConn (20-0) is still No. 1 in the AP women’s poll after stretching its NCAA record to 95 wins in a row. Baylor, Maryland, South Carolina, and Mississippi State round out the top five . . . BU men’s hockey fell from first to third in the latest USCHO.com poll. Minnesota-Duluth jumped from second to first with 46 of 50 first-place votes. Joining BU in the top 10 are Harvard (fifth), BC (eighth), and UMass Lowell (10th) . . . Kansas sophomore forward Carlton Bragg has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Lawrence, Kan., municipal court administrator Vicki Stanwix confirmed Bragg was given a notice to appear in court after police said they found two glass smoking devices with residue inside. The paraphernalia was found in December while university police were investigating a reported rape at McCarthy Hall, which houses the basketball team on campus. Coach Bill Self suspended Bragg last week but said it was not related to the alleged assault . . . Xavier sophomore point guard Edmond Sumner tore his left ACL Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. Sumner was second on the team in scoring with 15 points per game and averaged 4.3 rebounds . . . North Carolina won't have swingman Theo Pinson for a second straight game because of an ankle injury. Coach Roy Williams said Pinson will miss Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh but added that he's "hopeful" that the 6-foot-6 forward will return soon . . . Stanford will open the 2017 football season in Australia against Rice on Aug. 26. Stanford announced that the schools got approval to move the game that had been scheduled to be played in Houston to Sydney.
Tired Nadal dropped from Davis Cup
Rafael Nadal was dropped from Spain’s Davis Cup team because of fatigue following his five-set loss to Roger Federer in Sunday’s Australian Open final. He will be replaced with Feliciano Lopez for next weekend’s World Group first-round series at Croatia . . . US soccer midfielders Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan will miss Friday's exhibition against Jamaica in Chattanooga, Tenn. . . . England’s Ron Hill, the 78-year-old 1970 Boston Marathon champion, ended the longest recorded streak of running every day at 52 years and 39 days, or 19,033 days, on Saturday. Hill, who suffers from an undiagnosed heart problem, said that after less than 400 meters Saturday, “my heart started to hurt and over the last 800 meters, the problem got worse and worse. I thought I might die but just made it to 1 mile in 16 minutes and 34 seconds.’’ For more, click here . . . The Los Angeles Kings put defenseman Matt Greene on injured reserve with an unspecified injury. Coach Darryl Sutter said Greene has been dealing with an accumulation of injuries for much of the season, including back problems and a strained groin . . . Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber accepted a San Diego investor group’s application for a team . . . Sporting Kansas City signed Soony Saad to a two-year contract, reuniting the Lebanese forward with his 2011-14 MLS club . . . The Philadelphia Union signed former US national team defender Oguchi Onyewu, who is joining the MLS after 15 years with European clubs . . . The Seattle Sounders signed Swedish midfielder Gustav Svensson, 29, who spent last season in the Chinese Super League . . . WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 knockouts) will fight unbeaten contender Gerald Washington (18-0-2, 12 KOs) on Feb. 25 in Birmingham, Ala. Wilder's original opponent, Andrzej Wawrzyk, tested positive for a banned substance. Wilder hasn’t fought since suffering a torn right biceps muscle and fracturing his right hand against Chris Arreola last July . . . Russia says the International Paralympic Committee has rejected a proposal to partially lift a ban on Russian athletes which was imposed over the country's doping scandal. The Russian Paralympic Committee says it asked the IPC to let its athletes in winter sports enter qualifying competitions for the 2018 games in return for unspecified "concrete guarantees."