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Hellickson, Walker accept qualifying offer

Today is the deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers, and Philly’s Jeremy Hellickson is taking the bird in the hand

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Hellickson, Philadelphia Phillies righthanded pitcher, is still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, as he has accepted the $17.2 million qualifying offer which the team made to him.

Hellickson was one of ten players who were tendered a qualifying offer in advance of their hitting the free agent market this winter. Neil Walker of the New York Mets is also a candidate to accept the offer. The other eight players who were tendered offers, including Rangers outfielder Ian Desmond, are expected to reject it.

Ken Rosenthal has a column today about the need to change the free agent compensation system, eliminating penalties for teams signing free agents, and possibly giving a compensation pick to teams who lose a free agent without diminishing the players’ bargaining power by making the signing team forfeit a pick.

Hellickson, who turns 30 in April, is in the class of players who likely would have seen his value drop significantly as a result of costing a first round pick. He put up his best season since 2012 — and his only season of being materially above replacement level by bWAR since 2012 -- in 2016, logging a 3.71 ERA and a 3.98 FIP in 189 innings for the Phillies.

In a weak free agent market for pitching, Hellickson would have been one of the best options available, and the Phillies were likely banking on collecting a compensatory pick when he signed elsewhere. Instead, they are on the hook for $17.2 million for Hellickson in 2017, and he’s no doubt hoping that draft pick compensation goes away next offseason under the new CBA, making him more marketable then.

UPDATE — Neil Walker has reportedly also accepted the qualifying offer which he was tendered by the Mets.