During the 2009 season, the Philadelphia Phillies traded four prospects to the Cleveland Indians to acquire the defending American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee. With the Phillies, Lee went 7-4 with 3.39 ERA in 12 starts. Lee was a stud in the postseason, going 4-0 in five starts with a 1.56 ERA. The Phillies lost to the New York Yankees 4-2 in the World Series.
On December 15, 2009 , the Phillies traded three prospects to the Toronto Blue Jays for former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. Instead of keeping Halladay and Lee in the rotation together, the Phillies sent Lee to the Seattle Mariners and were able to get three prospects back. While this wasn’t a three-team trade, the transaction will always seem like one.
Lee didn’t last very long in Seattle before he was traded to the Texas Rangers in July of 2010. It was the last year of his contract and with him being an impending free agent and Seattle struggling to win, Texas acquired him for a playoff push. Lee helped the Rangers get to the 2010 World Series, where they lost to the San Francisco Giants.
Halladay enjoyed a very successful 2010 season with the Phillies, going 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and winning the NL Cy Young Award. Halladay threw the first perfect game of his career and also a no-hitter in the playoffs for the Phillies in his first career postseason start.
It was hard to judge the success of this trade after one year. Both pitchers made it to the postseason and were dominant in the playoffs. Halladay won the Cy Young and Lee anchored his team’s rotation to the World Series. However, Lee signed with the Phillies in the 2011 offseason, so they were able to have both Lee and Halladay as well as the three prospects they acquired from Seattle.
None of the three prospects that Philadelphia traded to Toronto have become established major league players, which makes this an easy win for the Phillies.