Former Cards exec Correa sentenced to prison

Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison by a federal judge on Monday for illegally accessing the Astros' player personnel database and email system.

In January, Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to at least December '14. Correa was promoted to St. Louis' director of baseball development in '14, but he was dismissed last July after allegations of the illegal conduct first surfaced.

Correa also must pay a fine of $279,038 in restitution. He faced up to five years in prison on each count.

Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe, who was at the sentencing, said Correa breached "Ground Control" -- the team's internal database which stores contract information, scouting reports and other stats and proprietary information -- 60 times between March 2013 and June 2014. Some of the information, including confidential trade talks, wound up being made public on Deadspin.com.

"It's a long sentence, but the judge said it was a very serious crime, and he did it repeatedly over a long period of time," Kibbe said. "He had an opportunity to look at everything we had for a long period of time and use that information to assist him in his job with the Cardinals. So it's obviously a very serious offense and a pretty rough day for baseball."

In a letter that Correa read publicly before the court, the former executive admitted he was "overwhelmed with remorse and regret for my actions."

"I violated my values, and it was wrong; I behaved shamefully," Correa said. "The whole episode represents the worst thing I've done in my life by far."

Correa was hired by Jeff Luhnow when the Astros' general manager worked for the Cardinals. Luhnow left the Cardinals for the Astros in December 2011 to become the GM. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. issued a public statement immediately following the sentencing on Monday afternoon.

"While today's sentencing of Chris Correa marks the end of the government's investigation, we also understand that the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball will now conduct its own investigation of this matter," the statement read. "As we did with the government during its investigation, we intend to fully cooperate with the Commissioner's Office in connection with its investigation so that this matter can finally be resolved.

"Pending the outcome of the Commissioner's investigation, we will have no further comment."

The Commissioner's Office previously stated that it would wait to gather details from federal authorities before launching its own investigation. Federal prosecutors stated that the breach cost the Houston organization about $1.7 million, based upon how Correa used the Astros' data to draft players.

"I wouldn't say we're happy," Kibbe said. "It's sad to see somebody's life changed the way it changed today. Obviously, we're upset about what he did and breaking into our system and using our information and then disclosing it publicly to intentionally harm us. It doesn't make us happy to see somebody go to jail for four years."

Any possible action by the Office of the Commissioner remains to be seen.

"The Commissioner is conducting an investigation into this, and he's going to do whatever he needs to do to feel comfortable that he knows everything that he needs to know, and we have full faith in him addressing this appropriately," Kibbe said. "As to specifically what he does, we'll leave it to the Commissioner and let him decide, and whatever he decides is fine with us."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.