Jeremy Hellickson signs qualifying offer, will return to Phillies

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The Phillies will have their best starting pitcher back in 2017.

A few hours ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline, Jeremy Hellickson accepted the Phillies’ qualifying offer of $17.2 million. He’ll remain in Philadelphia for at least one more season.

Hellickson, who won the Rookie of the Year award with the Rays in 2011, had his best season since in Philly at the helm of a young and inexperienced rotation. He was 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA, but showed shimmers of being even better than that mixed in with a few stinkers.

He will be atop the rotation along with Aaron Nola — should he be healthy again — and some combination of Zach Eflin, JaredEickhoff, Jake Thompson and others next season.

Hellickson’s inclusion on the team going forward in a one-year deal could make him trade bait once again should the Phillies need to be sellers next summer.

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