11:09pm: Apart from whatever criminal charges could arise, the league’s punishment of the Cardinals (if any) will depend upon “how high knowledge of [the] breach reached,” according to Passan (links to Twitter).
If the investigation reveals only a single “rogue employee,” there may not be any significant repercussions for the organization, says Passan. But severe penalties could result if top officials are shown to have acted improperly. The timeline of league action will be slowed by the fact that the FBI investigation remains private, Passan adds.
10:50pm: The FBI investigation into the breach of the Astros’ computer systems is in its final stages, according to the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron and Evan Drellich. A source tells the Chronicle that “the suspects [have] been narrowed to a group of four to five individuals within the Cardinals organization.”
Per the report, in addition to the 2013 breach discussed in the New York Times piece that broke the story of the investigation, impermissible access to the system also occurred in March of last year. That would seem to coincide with a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports indicating that the computer which gained entry to the Astros’ systems had been traced to a house in Jupiter, Florida — the Spring Training home of the Cardinals — which was occupied by multiple St. Louis employees. (Notably, also, the information released publicly appears to line up with the timing reported by the Chronicle.)
The Cardinals have conducted internal interviews with their personnel regarding the matter, Drellich adds on Twitter, and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that many members of the front office have hired attorneys. St. Louis released a statement earlier today indicating that the club “has fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so.” Per Goold’s report, that included turning over computers to the FBI back in Feburary.
As things stand, it remains unreported precisely which Cardinals personnel are suspected of involvement with the actual computer breach — let alone what involvement organizational higher-ups may have had in the infraction, the public disclosure of information, and/or events subsequent. Needless to say, regardless of who is ultimately deemed to have committed the breaches, those questions will remain a source of intense interest going forward.