There was a time when the Oakland A’s actually spent money on their roster. Of course, this was a generation ago, so it is understandable why those times may be forgotten.
Considering that reluctance to spend, it is not a surprise that the longest contract the A’s have handed out in free agency happened 30 years ago. That deal? A five year contract worth $28 million handed to Ruben Sierra.
Ruben Sierra did his part with Oakland A’s
Sierra’s time in Oakland began before that contract in free agency. He was part of the return that sent Jose Canseco to Texas on August 31, 1992, a relatively surprising deal at the time. Sierra had three homers and four doubles over the final month of the regular season and performed well in the ALCS, leading to that five year deal.
Whether or not Sierra lived up to that deal depends on how one defines success. He was a solid run producer during his time in Oakland with respectable pop, hitting 60 homers while driving in 252 runs in just over three seasons with the A’s. However, he produced a relatively disappointing 100 OPS+ as he was not enough to extend the A’s window of contention.
He did not come close to seeing the end of that contract in Oakland. Sierra was sent to the Yankees just before the trade deadline in 1995, being traded with Jason Beverlin for Danny Tartabull. Tartabull’s tenure in Oakland was not memorable either as he appeared in just 24 games before being traded to the White Sox for a pair of minor leaguers.
Yes, the A’s have handed out larger contracts. Billy Butler received $30 million over three years in what was another disaster of a deal. Eric Chavez still has the largest contract in team history, a six year extension worth $66 million that was handed out in 2005. The fact that no one has come close to that extension, or Sierra’s deal for that matter, is just another sign that the A’s need ownership that actually gives a damn.
Ruben Sierra still has the largest contract handed out by the Oakland A’s in free agency. After 30 years, it is time to actually spend on talent.