In what will come as a surprise for many Phillies’ fans, RHP Jeremy Hellickson has accepted the team’s $17.2M Qualifying Offer.
The biggest surprise is that a Scott Boras client would forgo the opportunity to test free agency in what is considered to be a lean market for starting pitchers.
During the GM meetings in Arizona, Matt Klentak was reported to have had no preference regarding Hellickson’s decision. Klentak said he would be equally happy to have the pitcher return to anchor his young pitching staff or to accept the draft pick that Hellickson’s declining the QO would present the organization.
With Hellickson returning for the 2017 campaign, the Phillies’ 40-man roster stands at 33 players. This will have an affect on who and how many prospects will be protected from the Rule 5 selection process as Hellickson will continue to occupy a roster spot going into the draft.
The decision will also shape future moves by the organization during the off season. Klentak will no longer need to trade for an established pitcher nor sign a FA pitcher to bolster a young pitching staff.