Hellickson reportedly accepts qualifying offer
PHILADELPHIA >> Pete Mackanin will face one fewer question when the Phillies hit spring training. His No. 1 starting pitcher slot, which had a chance to be wide open, will belong to Jeremy Hellickson.
Such was the reality Monday when, according to multiple reports, the free-agent right-hander elected to accept a qualifying offer of $17.2 million to pitch for the Phils in 2017.
Hellickson, a former Rookie of the Year, went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA last season. While both Mackanin and Matt Klentak had hinted that they would like him back, the Phillies had too many developing, young starters
to make a long-term commitment to the 29-year-old pitcher.
For multiple reasons, however, they were comfortable in issuing the oneyear proposal. With Hellickson accepting, they have their most reliable pitcher back. Had he declined to re-sign, the Phils would have been granted an extra choice late in the first round of the next draft simply for having made the offer.
Either way, they would have been satisfied.
The collectively bargained qualifying offer for a major-league free agent
fluctuates annually. It must be an average of the highest 125 annual majorleague salaries. The Phils made Hellickson the $17.2 million minimum bid last week. He had seven days to decide. He chose to remain with the Phils.
Had Hellickson not returned, the Phils likely would have shopped for a veteran arm, also on a short-term deal. Though they likely would have found one for much less than $17.2 million, they would have had difficulty replacing Hellickson’s positive influence on a developing starting staff that will include Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin and Adam Morgan.