Monday at 5 p.m. ET is the deadline for players who were extended qualifying offers to either accept or reject them.
A qualifying offer is a one-year deal now worth $17.2 million. Outgoing free agents -- unless they were traded midseason -- are eligible to receive qualifying offers. Players who accept the offer stay put on that one-year deal and possibly do the same dance next year (though the new CBA that is coming through this offseason might eliminate them). Players who reject the QO are attached to draft pick compensation, meaning when they sign with a new team as a free agent, that team has to cough up their first round pick. The player's former team, in turn, receives a supplemental first round pick.
Will we see any others added to that list this time around? We'll be keeping track here.
There are only 10 players who were extended qualifying offers in this weak free agent class. Here they are, with current reported status:
- Edwin Encarnacion -- will reject offer, per Chris Cotillo
- Jose Bautista -- will reject offer, per Jon Heyman
- Dexter Fowler -- will reject offer, per Jon Heyman
- Jeremy Hellickson -- ACCEPTED, per Jon Heyman
- Kenley Jansen -- will reject offer, per Andy McCullough
- Justin Turner -- will reject offer, per Andy McCullough
- Yoenis Cespedes -- will reject offer, per Joel Sherman
- Neil Walker -- ACCEPTED, per Joel Sherman
- Ian Desmond -- will reject offer, per Joel Sherman
- Mark Trumbo -- will reject offer, per Jeff Passan
So far this is exactly what is expected. The only players who were even a question as to whether or not they'd accept were Walker -- due mostly to his back surgery -- and Hellickson.
Hellickson, 29, was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 154 strikeouts in 189 innings for the Phillies last season. He was coming off a 4.86 ERA combined in the previous three seasons. Given that we've seen free agents who declined qualifying offers go into the next season unsigned, it was probably wise of Hellickson to take the offer. Even in a thin starting pitching market, it seems a stretch that he was gonna make more than $17.2 million in 2017, no? So he remains with the Phillies.
Walker, as mentioned, had back surgery that ended his season prematurely. Taking the qualifying offer ensures him a healthy payday in 2017, as well as the chance to audition for a more lucrative long-term contract than the one he would've received this winter with those lingering durability questions. He hit .282/.347/.476 in 113 games.