Oakland Athletics: Revisiting Billy Butler’s Disastrous Contract

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler /

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Billy Butler. Billy Beane has made plenty of questionable moves throughout his career, but the signing of Butler made very little sense.

The Oakland Athletics have received plenty of praise for their efforts to stay relevant in a league dominated by big market clubs. Despite their efforts, though, the A’s have made a few questionable calls recently in their quest to stay competitive.

Billy Beane made plenty of headlines in 2014 when he dealt Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester. Lester played well for the A’s, but could not secure a Wild Card win for Oakland in Kansas City.

Following the A’s exit from the wild card, Beane decided to dismantle the club. We have covered Beane’s biggest mistakes during his career and the decision to trade Josh Donaldson was on the top of the list.

Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics /

Oakland Athletics

Donaldson was dealt to the Blue Jays for a package of players that included Franklin Barreto. If Barreto fails to deliver upon his high expectations, however, then the deal instantly becomes one of baseball’s worst.

What makes Donaldson’s trade so depressing is the fact that it came after Beane signed Billy Butler. Butler was given a three-year $30 million contract. After the A’s literally burned $30 million, Donaldson was dealt to Toronto.

A $30 Million Breakfast

Everyone loves breakfast foods, especially an old-fashioned country breakfast. Unfortunately for Beane and the A’s, Butler’s version of a country breakfast was entirely inedible.

The A’s were banking on Butler to rebound and rejuvenate his career in Oakland. No such rejuvenation would take place. Butler simply failed to produce in Oakland.

Beane took a $30 million gamble and lost miserably. The A’s have had plenty of success under Beane despite having a relatively low payroll. Butler’s deal did not feel completely right for the A’s, especially at that high of a price tag.

Butler failed to produce, but succeeded in helping destroy what was usually regarded as a fun, loose and positive clubhouse.

Butler’s altercation with Danny Valencia was his low-point with the A’s. His release was announced shortly after and closed the door on his tenure with Oakland.

Over his two years with the A’s, Butler slashed .258/.325/.394 with 19 HR and 96 RBI. The A’s are still paying Butler to this day, despite not featuring him on the roster.

That $30 million could have been used to help some talent, but was instead invested in a player past his prime.

Next: Can Khris Davis Reach 50 HR?

What do you think? Are you happy that the A’s are continuing to pay Butler this year? Sound of