Clayton Kershaw might not be the only challenge the St. Louis Cardinals solved with surprising ease.
The FBI is investigating whether the Cardinals, one of baseball's most respected and successful teams, hacked into the computers of the Houston Astros to steal player personnel data, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
In a statement Tuesday, Major League Baseball said it would act "once the investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement officials." According to the report, subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals and on MLB. No Cardinals employees have been named publicly as targets.
The Cardinals also released a statement, stating they "are aware of the investigation into the security breach of the Houston Astros' database," and that "the team has fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do."
After the website Deadspin reported last year that the Astros' database had been breached, Major League Baseball notified the FBI, according to the report. The FBI launched an investigation that traced at least some of the leaks to employees of the Cardinals.
The theory is that some St. Louis officials were concerned that Jeff Luhnow, the former Cardinals executive hired by the Astros as general manager after the 2011 season, might have taken confidential information with him to Houston. According to the report, the Cardinals checked the passwords Luhnow -- and other former St. Louis employees who had joined him in Houston -- had used with the Cardinals, then used some of those passwords to break into the Astros' computer system.
The Cardinals have baseball's best record this year and have appeared in the National League championship series in each of the past four years. Luhnow was one of the executives that developed a robust player development system that helped the Cardinals flourish even when franchise icon Albert Pujols signed with the Angels after the 2011 season.
The Astros have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2015 season. Through Monday, they have the second-best record in the American League at 37-28 and lead the AL West by 2 1/2 games over the Texas Rangers.
The Cardinals have been one of baseball's best franchises over the last decade, winning the World Series in 2011 and 2006. They've won 11 championships since 1926, second only to the New York Yankees.
Times staff writer Austin Knoblauch contributed to this report.