The Phillies added a veteran arm to their starting rotation for 2017 on Monday afternoon.   It was none other than the Phillies' best starter in 2016: Jeremy Hellickson.  Hellickson chose to forego free agency and sign the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer to remain with the Phillies, reports Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.

The $17.2 million amount might be considered high, but the Phillies had a real need and they have the money to afford it.   Some baseball analysts felt that Hellickson could have landed a three-year or four-year deal in free agency, but at  a lower average annual value.  By accepting the offer, Hellickson assumes some risk; one arm or elbow injury suffered during 2017 could cost Hellickson millions of dollars.

As for the Phillies, the team very much needed a veteran starter who can throw some reliable innings in 2017 to complement the young Phillies starting rotation.  Hellickson threw 189 innings for the Phillies last season, and finding someone to fill such a role is not an easy task, especially when the Phillies would not want to make a long-term commitment to a pitcher when they have so many young arms of their own.

The Phillies do miss out on a potential late-round draft pick, but the Phillies may be able to deal Hellickson towards the July 31 trade deadline if they feel that enough of their starting rotation would be sufficient on their own.  The Phillies are happy to pay the $17.2 million knowing that the commitment does not extend beyond 2017.  The free agent class in 2018 could include a veteran ace-type pitcher such as Jake Arietta and the club may wish to shoot higher.

Hellickson went 12-10 with a 3.71 earned run average for the Phillies in 2016.

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