Last week, the former St. Louis Cardinal scouting director Chris Correa pleaded guilty to 5 counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer, 18 U.S. Code § 1030. At the sentencing hearing was the first time the scope of what he accessed became public. The accessed information, valued at $1.7 million, included access to Houston Astros’ emails, player evaluations, notes on trade discussions, opinions on Cardinals players, and draft data. All of this information is proprietary to the team that owns it and very valuable in the competitive landscape of the MLB.
Major League Baseball Rob Manfred recently has begun to urge teams to protect their intellectual property with individual employee contracts. This would help protect teams from losing proprietary information when employees switch between teams. However, these contracts will not protect teams from illegal activities like the one at hand.
The MLB knows teams try to steal signs, during the games, from each other, to get an advantage. They have mostly turned a blind eye to this practice, but stealing a database does not seem to be something they can just ignore. Commissioner Manfred has to be thankful that the Red Sox and Yankees are not involved because this is a major breach that has largely been outside of the media spotlight.