When you consider everything, this may not be the worst decision for Jeremy Hellickson:
jeremy hellickson accepted the $17.2M qualifying offer
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 14, 2016
Even in a weak free agent market, and even with Hellickson on the right side of 30 still, it was tough to say for sure that he would get a huge contract after being attached to draft pick compensation. It seems likely that he and his agents poked around, tried to get a good sense of the market, and then decided a big one-year payoff for his turnaround season in 2016 was the best bet. If he’s solid again in 2017, then, he can still get a good contract next offseason (especially if he’s traded at midseason, and uncoupled from draft pick compensation).
As for the implications here, Hellickson was a plausible Cubs target, given their need at the back of the rotation, and the fact that the draft pick they’d be giving up in 2017 (end of the first round) is lower than many other possible pursuers. There were also indicators that his 2016 season was a legitimate turnaround, as opposed to a fluke. But, it looks like he won’t even be an option now, so I’ll spare you the deeper dive. The lousy free agent market gets lousier.
For the Phillies, they can now try to take a sneaky run at competitiveness, or they could consider flipping Hellickson at midseason.