David Schoenfield from ESPN.com on Cliff Lee:
Lee strained an abdominal muscle in spring training in 2003. He was eventually sent to Triple-A, but pitched well in nine major league starts that season. From 2004-06, he went 46-24 with a 4.50 ERA in the majors, averging 6.7 K’s and 3.0 walks per nine innings. He was a solid big league pitcher, a little prone to the long ball, but hardly a Cy Young contender. Things fell apart for him in 2007. He struggled so much (6.29 ERA) that he was sent to the minors and wasn’t included on Cleveland’s postseason roster.
Everyone knows what came next, a Cy Young in 2008 and 2.5 more years as one of baseballs 10-15 best pitchers. Lee’s 2008 season took me so much by surprise that I had to check and make sure it was the same Cliff Lee I thought it was. He was so bad in 2006 and 2007 that it seemed like he was done.
I still wonder though, when you consider the fact that he has played for five teams in the last three seasons, if there isn’t something about him that makes team weary.