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Former Indians' OF Grady Sizemore

Indians History: It Has Been 12 Years Since "The Trade"

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Would you like to feel old?

It was 12 years ago today, June 27, 2002, that the Cleveland Indians sent Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew to the Montreal Expos for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Lee Stevens.

While Lee Stevens only played 53 games in Cleveland before his career was over at the age of 34, and Brandon Phillips received all of 462 plate appearances in Cleveland before being tossed aside to the Cincinnati Reds for Jeff Stevens, only to become an All-Star talent (sorry, guys), the deal was essential in the Indians having some success, even reaching 90 wins in 2005 and 2007.

May 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee (33) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Lee won a Cy Young award with the Indians in 2008, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. While he had his ups and downs for the Tribe, Lee managed to go 83-48 in eight seasons in Cleveland. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 for a package of young players, with only Carlos Carrasco “working out”, if you can call it that. There is still hope for Carrasco based on his production out of the pen, so, nearly five years since Lee left town, the Indians are still getting something out of him.

Grady Sizemore…oh, what might have been…All of the injuries derailed what looked to be a Hall of Fame career. From 2005 to 2008, Sizemore was the 4th most valuable player in baseball (based on FanGraph’s WAR) behind Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, and Alex Rodriguez. By the age of 26, Sizemore’s knees were shot and he was never the same. He made a triumphant, short-lived comeback this season with Boston prior to being released and signed to a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. It would be nice to see him succeed, even if it isn’t with Cleveland, due to the memories of his once dynamic skills on the diamond.

Bartolo Colon is still around, his career saved from fat being injected into his elbow, but no one knows where the fat on the rest of him came from, nor, if it will ever stop forming. He was able to get a two-year deal from the New York Mets at the age of 40 this past offseason, which either shows how desperate the Mets were for pitching or how amazing Colon was in Oakland in 2013. Regardless, Colon has won 122 games since leaving Cleveland, as well as the 2005 AL Cy Young for the Angels when he won 21 games.

If you’re a baseball fan over the age of 30, this deal makes you feel pretty old today. It’s amazing how quickly 12 years can fly by, and it’s amazing that the Indians were able to pry away three prospects who were considered elite-level talents from the floundering, MLB-controlled Expos for a half-season rental, as Colon signed with the Angels only a few months later in free agency. My, how the league has changed…

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Cliff Lee Grady Sizemore

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