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MLB Insider Remembers The Legendary Bartolo Colon Trade

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Booking.com

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Bartolo Colon #40 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 5, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 

Bartolo Colon is something of a cult hero for MLB fans.

They love his rubber arm, his historic home run against James Shields with the New York Mets uniform, his nickname (it’s hard to top the ‘Big Sexy’), and everything he does or says.

But we often forget how good of a pitcher he was.

He hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2018, although he is not officially retired.

Yet, he has a very solid 4.12 ERA in 3,461.2 career innings.

On June 27, 2002, exactly 20 years ago, he was the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal between the Montreal Expos and the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians).

By that time, he had already established himself as a very reliable starting pitcher, and Montreal took a chance on him.

“20 years ago today, Cleveland traded Bartolo Colon to the Expos for what the ESPN scroll called “Lee Stevens and prospects.” The prospects were Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee & Grady Sizemore, who combined for 10 All-Star Games. None played in MLB past Colon’s final season (2018),” MLB’s Anthony Castrovince tweeted.

 

An Impressive Return In Exchange For Bartolo

That return package is outstanding.

Sizemore was expected to be a game-changing prospect, and although he had some impressive seasons, he couldn’t keep going because of injuries.

Lee and Phillips, especially the former, dominated the league for a time.

In many occasions, the prospects involved in a deal don’t pan out, and the team acquiring the established veteran wins the trade.

This time, however, Cleveland clearly got some talent in exchange for their pitching star, even though Colon completed a nice career that even delivered a Cy Young award.

The three prospects were considered stars at one point in their respective careers.

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