The Cardinals will send their top two picks in the 2017 Draft to the Astros as part of the penalties handed down Monday by Commissioner Rob Manfred as the result of a hacking scandal involving the two sides.
As part of the deal, the Astros receive the No. 56 and 75 picks -- the Cardinals' two highest selections -- in next June's Draft. That adds $1,853,200 to the Astros' signing pool for the 2017 Draft -- $1,122,400 for No. 56 and $730,800 for No. 75 -- and brings the total up to $8,608,300, 11th-highest among the 30 allotted pools.
St. Louis was without a first-round pick after signing Dexter Fowler this offseason and will now see its first pick come at No. 94. Its $2,072,300 signing pool will be the lowest in the game, far below the Indians' $3,646,100 in 29th.
It's possible that Houston will get a solid building block with either of its two newly awarded picks. For instance, Twins No. 8 prospect Ben Rortvedt and Brewers No. 28 prospect Mario Feliciano were taken at No 56 and 75, respectively, in 2016. Equally helpful is that the larger bonus pool will allow the Astros to be more aggressive early in the draft with their selection at No. 15, where they can set their sights on a higher-ceiling talent who might be a tougher sign. No. 41 overall prospect Jason Groome fell to the Red Sox at No. 12 last June for just that reason.
The Cardinals face a stumbling block in terms of player development with the loss of their picks. A stiffer punishment was avoided as the Commissioner chose to keep the penalties to this year's Draft and decided not to take away future first-round picks.
Also as part of the penalties announced Monday, former Cardinals employee Chris Correa, who is serving 46 months in jail for his role in obtaining info from the Astros, has been placed on the permanently ineligible list and the Cardinals were forced to pay the Astros $2 million.