On December 15, 2010, Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies shocked the baseball world by agreeing to a five-year, $120 million deal.
It marked the return of one of the most beloved pitchers in Phillies history, which is kind of nutty when you realize that the man had only played 12 regular season games as a Phillie up to that point.
After starting out 5-0 when the Phillies acquired him at the 2009 trade deadline, Lee went 2-4. It was during the playoffs, however, when the Legend of Cliff Lee was written in Philadelphia.
Lee went 4-0 in the 2009 postseason that saw the Phillies fall to the New York Yankees in six games in the World Series. Lee had both of the Phillies Series wins, including a Game 1 domination of New York.
The city was stunned, hurt and angry when Ruben Amaro, Jr. traded Lee to Seattle in the 2009 offseason to make room for Roy Halladay.
That anger and hurt turned to elation when Lee returned a year later, especially after it was revealed that he took less money to return to Philadelphia than the hated Yankees had offered him.
Lee did very well during his first full season on the Phillies as part of the team's "Four Aces" pitching staff.
But then came the postseason.
After obliterating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS and jumping out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2, it looked like the Phillies had a cake walk to the World Series in front of them.
Then the wheels came off.
A 4-0 lead is supposed to be safe in the hands of a guy who would be the ace pitcher on 27 other MLB teams.
Lee unraveled, the Cardinals rallied to win and the Phillies never fully recovered and eventually lost the series in five games.
Lee came into the 2012 season looking for redemption and found none.
His play has been baffling. He didn't record his first win of the season until July 4th.
The offense, missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, let him down in some games, but Lee blew a few three and four-run leads during the first half of the season as well.
At the trading deadline, the Phillies were said to be shopping for Lee but couldn't find a team willing to take on the remainder of that enormous contract that he signed with Philadelphia. Ruben Amaro, Jr. has since denied this.
The fact that rumors swirled around the one-time ace at all shows what a letdown he has been since his return to the club.