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Jeremy Hellickson takes Phils' $17.2M qualifying offer

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Right-hander Jeremy Hellicksonaccepted the Philadelphia Phillies' $17.2 million qualifying offer on Monday.

Hellickson was one of 10 players to receive qualifying offers from their teams. Monday was the deadline for players to either accept or reject the offers.
New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker was the only other player to accept the qualifying offer.

Eight other free agents did not accept the offers from their former teams by Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline: outfielders Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Yoenis Cespedes (Mets), Ian Desmond (Rangers), Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs) and Mark Trumbo (Orioles), designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays); closer Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers); and third baseman Justin Turner (Dodgers).

Hellickson said at the end of this season that, although he had hoped to sign a multiyear contract this offseason, he'd "love to be back next year" with the Phillies.

"It's not the stability I wanted, but it's a lot of money for one year," Hellickson told The News Journal in a telephone interview. "I believe in myself to go out there and have another good year, even a better year and put myself in position to get the stability in the next offseason."

He told the newspaper that he received interest from several teams, but those clubs were reluctant to part with a first-round draft pick to sign him. Aside from teams picking in the first 10 slots of the draft, teams forfeit a first-round pick if they sign a player who has received a qualifying offer. Teams in the top 10 forfeit their second-highest pick.

Hellickson said he considered rejecting the qualifying offer, but changed his mind because of the draft pick restrictions associated with signing him.

"I've been playing six years to get to this point and it's just unfortunate that free agents like myself have this first-round pick attached to us," Hellickson told The News Journal. "It sucks.

"The guys that are free agents this year, it's tough for me to not laugh at people who say this is a weak free-agent market," he continued. "It's tough with the uncertainty of the market right now to turn down that much money for one year, especially for a team I enjoyed playing for and a city I love playing for."

Hellickson, 29, was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA last season. He tied career highs with 32 starts and 189 innings pitched and struck out a career-best 154 batters, while walking just 45.

His 12 victories were the most by a Phillies pitcher last season.

The Phillies acquired Hellickson in a 2015 trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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