The Montreal Expos made Gullickson the overall number two pick in the 1977 amateur draft. Gullickson was recalled for good by the Expos in May of 1980 and entered the Expos rotation in the middle of a pennant race. He went 10-5 as a rookie with a 3.00 ERA (119 ERA+) in 24 games, of which 19 were starts. His season highlight came when he set a rookie record with 18 strikeouts on September 10 vs. the Chicago Cubs. Gullickson finished second in the rookie of the year voting and the player with the most similar age 21 season was former Reds phenom Wayne Simpson, who was 14-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 1970.
Despite striking out the 18 Cubs in that one game, Gullickson became known as a control pitcher and not a strikeout pitcher. Gullickson was regularly among the best control pitchers in the league, allowing 2.2 walks per nine innings for his career. He had also averaged 222 innings pitched per year from 1982-85, the four years before joining the Reds, having won in double figures those four consecutive seasons. The Reds were adding Gullickson to a revamped rotation that would include Mario Soto, Tom Browning, and John Denny, with Denny having only been acquired about a week earlier.
In fact, to get Gullickson, the Reds traded three pitchers who were among the top five in Reds pitching games started in 1985. Tibbs was 10-16 with a 3.92 ERA for the Reds in his second major league season. The ten wins would turn out to be a Tibbs career high. In seven career seasons, Tibbs was 39-54 with a 4.20 ERA. In two seasons with the Reds, Tibbs was 16-18 with a 3.59 ERA.
Stuper pitched only one season for the Reds, going 8-5 with a 4.55 ERA in 33 games, 13 of them starts, in 1985. His best season came with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983 when he was 12-11 with a 3.68 ERA. He never made the Expos staff, having been released at the end of spring training in 1986. In is four major league season, Stuper was 32-28 with a 3.96 ERA.
The Reds had acquired McGaffigan from the Expos in the deal that sent Dan Driessen to the Expos in July, 1984. McGaffigan had primarily been a reliever in his career, but injuries to the Reds starting staff forced McGaffigan to make 15 starts in 1985, going 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA. McGaffigan would go on to pitch six more seasons as a swing man. In 11 major league seasons, McGaffigan was 38-33 with a 3.38 ERA. In two seasons with the Reds, McGaffigan was 3-5 with a 4.07 ERA.
Two catchers were also included in the deal. Dann Bilardello was dealt from the Reds to the Expos. After three years of declining playing time, Bilardello bounced from majors to minors through the 1992 season. In all or parts of eight seasons, Bilardello hit .204 with 18 home runs. In three seasons with the Reds, Bilardello hit .216 with 12 of his career homers.
Butera had a nine-year career as a backup catcher, hitting .227 with eight home runs. In 61 games with the Reds, Butera hit .234 with three homers.
Gullickson pitched well for the Reds, going 15-12 with a 3.38 ERA (115 ERA+) in 1986 before going 10-11 with a 4.85 ERA in 1987 before being dealt to the New York Yankees for Dennis Rasmussen in August, 1987. In fourteen major league seasons, Gullickson was 162-136 with a 3.93 ERA. With the Reds, Gullickson was 25-23 with a 3.98 ERA.