Despite Cleveland's disappointing 81-81 mark in the 2008 season, Lee, 29, compiled a 22-3 record with an AL-leading 2.54 ERA. His 22 wins equaled Arizona's Brandon Webb, who was the National League's runner-up for the Cy Young Award to San Francisco's Tim Lincecum on Tuesday.
Over 223 1/3 innings, he walked 34 batters, struck out 170, and surrendered only 12 home runs.
"Even if I had won every start, I don't know if I'd be satisfied," Lee told MLB.com near the end of the 2008 season. "There's always something you can do better. I don't know how to explain it other than that. It's just the way I am, I guess."