Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson has accepted the team’s $17.2 million qualifying offer, a major-league source has confirmed to SB Nation. Hellickson will return to Philadelphia for next season.
Hellickson was one of ten players to receive the qualifying offer this winter, and is the first to accept it. Eight others have rejected the offer to this point, with a decision from Mets second baseman Neil Walker still to be determined.
Hellickson was originally said to be leaning against accepting the offer, but became more open to the idea as the week progressed and ultimately decided to bet on himself by accepting a 1-year, $17.2 million deal. Many believed that Hellickson would receive one of the biggest deals for starters on the free-agent market as one of the top rotation arms available in a class that includes veterans like Rich Hill, Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel.
Hellickson, 29, was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts for the Phillies last year after coming over in a trade with the Diamondbacks a year ago. The former American League Rookie of the Year will re-join Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Vincent Velasquez as a stabilizing veteran force in a young rotation.
Hellickson’s return is the third major move of the winter for the Phillies, who acquired veterans Pat Neshek and Howie Kendrick in trades over the past two weeks.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported the news.