Cliff Lee, Starting Pitcher
Date of Birth: 8/30/1978
Birthplace: Benton, Arkansas
College: University of Arkansas
Cliff Lee, starting pitcher, was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000 but he never played with them. After two seasons in the minor leagues, the Expos traded Lee to the Cleveland Indians, who sent him to the minors for most of another season. They called him up in September to pitch in just two games and 10.1 innings. Lee again spent most of the 2003 season in the minors, playing in just nine games for the Indians that season.
In 2004, his rookie year with the Indians, Lee pitched in 33 games. His statistics for the 2004 season include 179.0 innings pitched, 14-8 record, 5.43 ERA, and 161 strikeouts to 81 walks.
Lee struggled with injuries and pitching in the 2007 season, playing in 20 games that year for the Indians. However, he came back very strong the next season. In 2008, he played in 31 games, pitched 223.1 innings, and ended with a 22-3 record, 2.54 ERA, and 170 strikeouts to 34 walks. He won the American League Cy Young award and the AL Comeback Player of the Year award that season. He also led the American League in ERA.
Although Lee had a stellar year in 2008, the Indians traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of July, 2009. His best numbers in 2009 came from post-season play, when he played in 5 games, pitched 40.1 innings, and had a 4-0 record with a 1.56 ERA.
In December, 2009, the Phillies traded Lee to the Seattle Mariners. However, the Mariners did not keep Lee for long, trading him in July, 2010 to the Texas Rangers. After the 2010 season ended, Lee became a free agent. In December, 2010, he agreed to return to the Phillies with a five-year, $120 million contract.
Lee had a good 2013 season, ending with a 2.87 ERA with 14 wins to 8 losses and 222 strikeouts to 32 walks in 31 games. He missed much of the 2014 season with elbow issues. He finished the season with a 4-5 record, 72 strikeouts to 12 walks, and a 3.65 ERA in 81.1 innings in 13 games.
Lee was on the DL for the entire 2015 season. He became a free agent after the season ended. No teams signed Lee for the 2016 season. He didn't play professional baseball in 2016 and 2017.
Statistics for Lee in 12 seasons (2003-2014) in the major leagues include:
- 8 seasons with 30 or more games played, with a high of 34 in 2009
- 8 seasons with over 200 innings pitched, with a high of 232.2 in 2011
- 3 seasons with an ERA under 3.00, with a low of 2.40 in 2011
- 2 seasons with 18 or more wins, with a high of 22 in 2008
- 7 seasons with over 150 strikeouts, with a high of 238 in 2011
Career statistics for Lee through 2014 include:
- 328 games played
- 2,156.2 innings pitched
- 143-91 win-loss record
- 1,824 strikeouts to 464 walks
- 3.52 ERA
Post-season statistics for Lee include:
- 11 games played
- 82 innings pitched
- 7-3 win-loss record
- 2.52 ERA
- 89 strikeouts to 10 walks
Lee and his wife Kristen have one son and one daughter.