UPDATE: Hellickson accepted the qualifying offer, and will return to the Phillies next season.
ORIGINAL: Free-agent starter Jeremy Hellickson is considering accepting the qualifying offer he received from the Phillies, according to a major-league source. Hellickson has until 5 p.m. this afternoon to either accept the $17.2 million offer or remain a free agent.
Early indications were that the right-hander was likely to reject the offer, though the idea of him accepting it is “possible” as of this afternoon. Hellickson would be tied to draft-pick compensation if he rejected the offer and planned to sign elsewhere.
At this point, a long-term agreement between the Phillies and Hellickson is unlikely before 5 p.m., according to a source. Last year, the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada avoided the qualifying offer decision by reaching agreement on a 2-year deal before the deadline.
Hellickson was one of ten players to receive a qualifying offer last week, and is one of only two players who have yet to decline it. Former Mets second baseman Neil Walker is said to be considering accepting the offer as well.
For a complete list of qualifying offer decisions, check out our QO tracker.