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Phillies Hot Stove: Jeremy Hellickson accepts qualifying offer for 2017

Jeremy Hellickson accepts one-year offer at $17.2 million; Phillies will not get high draft pick

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he was going to be happy with either outcome. Either the Phillies bring back Jeremy Hellickson for one more year to keep a pretty steady arm in the starting rotation for 2017, or the team gets a decent draft pick to help continue building the franchise and farm system. On Monday, Hellickson accepted a qualifying offer from the Phillies for one year and $17.2 million. It may be a little pricey, but this isn’t a terrible deal for the Phillies.

Hellickson went 12-10 for the Phillies last season with 189.0 innings pitched and a 3.98 ERA (career low) and 1.153 WHIP (career low) and 154 strikeouts (career high) to 45 walks. Hellickson likely could have received a good offer on the free agent market, but he’ll still be making big money in 2017 after getting what is essentially a $10 million raise for one more year in Philadelphia. The $17.2 million Hellickson will make in 2017 will more than double his career earnings ($16.31 million since 2011). It also serves as a one-year audition before testing the free agent waters after next season.

I was leaning toward declining it last week,” Hellickson said to MLB.com. “But then I talked with [agent Scott Boras] over the last few days. The teams he talked to said that I was at the top of their free-agent list, but they were reluctant to give up a first-round pick. It’s unfortunate that free agents like myself this year and in the past have had to deal with that, but at the same time I’m going back to a team I love playing for. It was an easy decision with the uncertainty in the market right now.”

Had Hellickson opted to leave Philadelphia, the Phillies would have been given a high draft pick in next year’s amateur draft. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly notes the Phillies could have received a pick as high as No. 25 overall. For that to happen, the Phillies had to make the offer of $17.2 million to Hellickson and have him reject the offer. The Phillies may be paying a little more than what Hellickson is actually worth, but for one year this is not all that bad for the Phillies as they now have a reliable starter for the starting rotation.

The Phillies acquired Hellickson via an offseason trade last November with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Phillies gave up pitching prospect Sam McWilliams, who spent two years in the Phillies’ Gulf League farm team and played single A for Arizona’s Kane County affiliate last season.