Philadelphia Daily News - December 13, 1980
Phils Trade Bid Is No Big Deal
DALLAS (UPI) – The Phillies will leave this southwestern metropolis as they entered it. The interleague trading deadline is passed, and the World Champions made no deals.
Not that they didn't try.
The Phils wanted Milwaukee outfielder Sixto Lezcano, and were willing to give four pitchers – Randy Lerch, Dickie Noles, Ron Reed and Scott Munninghoff – in return.
But now Lezcano belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Phils wanted Reds catcher Johnny Bench, and were willing to give Bob Boone in return. They wanted California outfielder Don Baylor, and were willing to send Boone and Lerch to get him.
But part of Boone's deal with the Phillies reportedly includes low-interest loans lor his racquetball courts, and those loans gummed up the trading mechanism sufficiently to squelch both deals.
SO BENCH IS still in Cincinnati. Baylor's in Anaheim, all the Phils are still in Philadelphia, and the Cardinals and Brewers are making runs for their respective division titles.
Executives from the 26 major league franchises headed their various ways today, some happily awaiting spring training and others still looking for help.
The busiest team turned out to be Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals, who acquired nine players and dealt away 12. Relief pitcher Rollie Fingers was on both lists, having been picked up from San Diego earlier in the week and traded away yesterday.
But the team that may have gone away the happiest was Buck Rodgers' Milwaukee Brewers, who sent Lezcano and 12-game winner Lary Sorenson to St. Louis for Fingers, Philly-killing pitcher Pete Vuckovich and catcher Ted Simmons. The deal wasn't finalized until Simmons agreed to report to Milwaukee, and he was supposedly seeking a $1 million settlement for his trouble.
"We have one of the most awesome lineups anyone has had in years," said Rodgers, who took over the Milwaukee manager's job from George Bamberger last season. "I don't want to say we should be favorite to win the division because there were two clubs ahead of us last year. But I feel we are now a contender, which we were not at the end of last season.
"IF THERE IS a better lineup in the major leagues I want to see it." Milwaukee's current lineup has Simmons at catcher, Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Robin Yount and Don Money around the infield and Gorman Thomas, Paul Molitor and Ben Oglivie in the outfield. Larry Hisle, who missed almost all of 1979 with a shoulder injury, is expected to return as a designated hitter.
Those nine men, even with Hisle playing only 17 games, averaged 20 home runs and 71 RBI last season.
The St. Louis-Milwaukee trade was one of nine made on the last day of the meetings, which also ended the current period of inter-league trading.
The week-long gathering of baseball people generated 17 trades involving 58 major league players.
Outside the Cardinals-Brewers swap, the biggest names figuring in yesterday's dealings were John Montefusco and Doyle Alexander.
Montefusco was sent from San Francisco to Atlanta in exchange for Alexander and outfielder Craig Landis. IN
OTHER DEALS yesterday, Minnesota acquired pitcher Byron McLaughlin from Seattle for outfielder Willie Norwood; outfielder Hector Cruz went to the Chicago Cubs from Cincinnati for outfielder Mike Vail; the New York Mets acquired outfielder Bob Bailor from Toronto for pitcher Roy Lee Jackson; and Montreal signed free agent infielder Willie Montanez.
Herzog spent his first meetings as general manager swinging a deal every chance he could. But after his final one he seemed particularly delighted. In addition to Lezcano and Sorensen, St. Louis acquired minor league pitcher David LaPointe and minor league outfielder David Green.
"This is the deal I wanted," Herzog said. "This is the deal I pushed for. Ted Simmons said he didn't want to play first base. He said he wanted to catch 100 games and DH 50 games and the only club I could find that could accommodate him was Milwaukee.
"I would not have made the trade if Simmons had wanted to play first base. And I would not have made the trade if we could not have gotten Green. We think a lot of him."