Cliff Lee was a man in demand after becoming a free agent following the 2010 season. He ended up shocking baseball by agreeing to a five-year, $120 million contract, spurning the Yankees and Texas Rangers to return to the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he pitched in his first World Series.
Lee was 32 years old at the time he signed his deal with the Phillies, having pitched seven full major league seasons.
During stints with the Indians, Phillies, Mariners and Rangers, Lee put together a 102-61 record. He had one 20-win season, going 22-3 with an AL-leading 2.54 ERA in 2008. That performance earned him an All-Star appearance and the AL Cy Young Award.
Lee was traded to the Phillies after that season, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA and giving Philadelphia the push it needed for its second consecutive World Series appearance. The Phillies ended up losing to the New York Yankees.
However, Lee was back in the World Series again the following season after taking an unusual route to get there.
The Phillies traded him to the Mariners. Seattle was awful in 2010 and became sellers at the trade deadline. They dealt him to the Rangers, who needed an ace to boost their postseason chances.
Since reuniting with the Phillies, Lee has gone 18-14 with a 3.25 ERA. He was outstanding in his first season back with Philadelphia, compiling a 17-8 record and 2.40 ERA and helping the Phillies to a fifth consecutive NL East division title.
Lee has struggled this season, going 1-6 with a 3.95 ERA. Initially, he was victimized by poor run support. But as the season has progressed, Lee just hasn't pitched very well.
There have been rumors the Phillies might trade him, but with the re-signing of Hamels, Lee will likely be a part of the core of a starting rotation that should enable the Phillies to compete again next year.