Mozeliak addresses hack of Astros database

Mozeliak addresses hack of Astros database

ST. LOUIS -- General manager John Mozeliak said he was unaware of the scope of Chris Correa's illegal actions until Friday, when the Cardinals' former scouting director pleaded guilty to five criminal charges in connection with unauthorized access of the Astros' database.

Correa appeared before a U.S. district court judge in Houston following the completion of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department into an unauthorized breach of the Astros' computer network. That investigation began in February 2015, and though the Cardinals ran their own investigation concurrently, Mozeliak said he was not privy to the specifics of Correa's actions until they became public in the charging documents.

Former Cards scouting director pleads guilty to hacking Astros

"Like you, when I read what the indictment was, that was my first exposure to that," Mozeliak said on Monday.

Those charges included multiple breaches of the Astros' database, nicknamed "Ground Control" by the organization. Correa first accessed the system no later than March 2013, and he did so multiple times through June 2014. That included accessing an email account belonging to an Astros employee who had previously worked for the Cardinals and who had turned in his laptop and passwords to Correa upon leaving to join the Astros in December 2011. Correa, using a similar password, later accessed that individual's Astros email account.

Through this, Correa was able to download an Excel file that included confidential scouting information related to the 2013 Draft. He also gleaned information about trade discussions and how the Astros viewed players in the Cardinals' system. At the time, Correa served as the Cards' director of baseball development.

Correa was found to have accessed the Astros' database specifically on the final day of the 2013 Draft, as well as on the day of the non-waiver Trade Deadline (July 31) the following month.

Correa later breached a second email account belonging to another Astros employee after Houston changed the website address of "Ground Control," which houses information related to player evaluations, scouting and trade discussions. Using information from that account, Correa was able to continue to access confidential information.

Correa, who was promoted to scouting director in December 2014, was dismissed by the Cardinals in July 2015 after investigators discovered his connection to the breach.

Mozeliak acknowledged the possibility of sanctions from Major League Baseball on the Cardinals as a result of the illegal activity. He said the organization has not yet heard from the Commissioner's Office regarding that topic.

No one else from the organization has been implicated, and Mozeliak answered in the affirmative when asked if he is confident that Correa acted alone.

"But before we totally engage in answering everything, we just need these proceedings to be concluded," Mozeliak said, in reference to the April 11 sentencing date for Correa.

Because the case remains ongoing until then, Mozeliak said he was limited in how much he could speak on the topic. However, he did acknowledge that this illegal activity could affect the public's perception of the organization.

"I certainly am aware of what's been said, or at least mentioned on social media outlets," Mozeliak said. "Some of it is not very flattering. You think about all the different elements that go into this, and your hope is that in the end, you can still be proud of what we do here. That is sort of how I'm looking at it, and that's how I want our staff to look at it. I hope, in the end, it's something that, as my father used to say, 'This, too, shall pass,' and we'll move on from it. People have strong opinions right now, and I understand that."

He added that the relationship between the two teams' front offices remains "professional." Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow left for Houston in December 2011 after having worked in the Cardinals' front office since 2003. Correa worked under him as a statistical analyst for three years.

"I feel like from a friendship standpoint, it's still there," Mozeliak said of his relationship with Luhnow. "But there is an element that I would imagine could be distracting on their side. And I understand that."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.