Grade the Trade: The Dodgers Trade Bill Buckner, Ivan DeJesus, and Minor League Pitcher Jeff Albert to the Cubs for Rick Monday and Mike Garman

January 11, 1977
CIRCA 1978: Bill Buckner #22 of the Chicago Cubs at bat during a game from his 1978 season with the Chicago Cubs. Bill Buckner played for 22 years with 5 different teams and was a 1-time All-Star. (Photo by: 1978 SPX/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Reason for trade: Speculation here, but Buckner developed serious ankle problems, which hampered his ability to play the outfield. The only other natural position was first base, but the Dodgers already had Garvey there. Plus, the Dodgers had a wealth of talent with Garvey coming into its own (Garv, Cey, Lopes, Baker, Reggie Smith, etc.) so I guess Buck was expendable.

How it worked out for the Dodgers: Monday gave the Dodgers eight seasons as a left-handed hitting part-time outfielder, helping them to four NL West titles, three NL pennants, and a World Series title in 1981. Of course, there was his pennant-winning go-ahead HR in 1981, as well that forever entrenched him in Dodger Blue hearts.

Garman had a solid 1977 season as a reliever (12 saves, 4-4, 2.73 ERA), but then was dealt in early 1978 to the Expos for two pitchers, one (Larry Landreth) who never pitched for them and the other (Gerry Hannahs), who pitched exactly 16 innings for them in 1979, giving up 8 runs, 2 HR, and walked 13 batters. Hannahs was out of baseball after that, to no one’s surprise.

How it worked out for the Cubs: Buckner fought through his ankle problems and posted seven productive seasons, hitting over .300 four times with a batting title in 1980.

DeJesus gave the Cubs far more than anyone expected, four seasons as a top-caliber shortstop and forming a formidable SS-2B combo with Manny Trillo. He led the NL in runs scored in 1978. After a season-long slump in 1981 (.194 BA), he was dealt to the Phillies for a veteran SS in Larry Bowa…oh, and some kid prospect named…Ryne Sandberg.

Albert never made it past AA despite posting a couple of solid seasons as a starter. He bounced around the minors and was even back in the Dodgers organization in 1979, but was out of baseball after that.

Grade for the Dodgers: A, but it is puzzling why they parted with Garman so soon after such a solid 1977 and got virtually nothing in return.

Grade for the Cubs: A+, because it eventually resulted in Ryno. A trade that worked out well for both sides.

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