Phillies make $17.2M of­fer to Hel­lick­son

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaffery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> All through what might have been his only sea­son with the team, the Phillies cam­ou­flaged their longer-term in­ter­est in Jeremy Hel­lick­son.

They re­vealed their plan Tues­day: If he’s OK with it, they’ll take him back for one year.

For mul­ti­ple rea­sons, the Phils of­fered the righthanded, free-agent pitcher a qual­i­fy­ing of $17.2 mil­lion Mon­day. Should Hel­lick­son ac­cept, the Phillies will have an­other sea­son with their most sea­soned start­ing pitcher, a for­mer Rookie of the Year who went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA.

The col­lec­tively bar­gained qual­i­fy­ing of­fer for a ma­jor-league free agent fluc­tu­ates an­nu­ally. It must be an av­er­age of the high­est 125 an­nual ma­jor-league salaries. Should Hel­lick­son re­ject the deal, the Phillies will re­ceive an added choice high in the next draft, po­ten­tially as high as No. 25 over­all. Ei­ther way, the Phils, who can af­ford to bump Hel­lick­son from the $7 mil­lion he made last sea­son, will ben­e­fit just by mak­ing the of­fer.

Hel­lick­son is a client of Scott Bo­ras, who is known to fa­vor long-term deals. For that, it’s likely Hel­lick­son will re­ject the of­fer. He has seven days to de­cide. If Hel­lick­son leaves, ex­pect the Phillies to sign an­other vet­eran pitcher to a short­term con­tract.

Though Hel­lick­son was po­litely non-com­mit­tal about his fu­ture dur­ing the sea­son, he was sat­is­fied and pro­fes­sion­ally en­cour­aged by his time with the Phillies.

“I felt good ev­ery time out,” he said. “I felt good in be­tween starts, re­cov­er­ing like I was early in my ca­reer. I was able to work on stuff on my bullpen days a lit­tle more than I have in the past.”

Not only was Hel­lick­son a solid starter, he was ex­cel­lent at times. More, he was a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on a young staff that in­cluded Jerad Eick­hoff, Vince Ve­lasquez, Aaron Nola, Jake Thomp­son, Zach Eflin and Adam Mor­gan.

“He’s been out­stand­ing for us all year,” Pet Mack­anin said late in the sea­son. “Great guy. Good worker. Very fo­cused.”

Hel­lick­son was viewed as one of the more ap­peal­ing avail­able pitch­ers at the last trade dead­line. The Phillies, who lis­tened, did not make a move, an in­di­ca­tion, that they viewed Hel­lick­son wor­thy of con­tin­ued con­sid­er­a­tion as a re­li­able starter.

“He’s been ter­rific,” Matt Klen­tak said, dur­ing the sea­son. “And he’s done ev­ery­thing we’ve asked him to do.”

“There’s a rea­son,” the gen­eral man­ager said, “we brought him here in the first place.”

LYNNE SLADKY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Phillies start­ing pitcher Jeremy Hel­lick­son was of­fered a 1-year deal to stay with the team.

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