Report: Jeremy Hellickson leaning towards rejecting Phillies’ qualifying offer

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports hears that starter Jeremy Hellickson is leaning towards rejecting the Phillies’ $17.2 million qualifying offer to test the free agent market. Hellickson is represented by Scott Boras, so this is not particularly surprising.

Hellickson, 29, had a bounceback 2016 campaign after three rough years from 2013-15. He made 32 starts spanning 189 innings, compiling a 3.71 ERA and a 154/45 K/BB ratio. While the stats don’t scream “free agent payday,” this offseason’s free agent market is uniquely barren. As such, Hellickson is arguably the second-best starter available as I noted in my preview of the free agent starters.

If Hellickson does reject the Phillies’ QO, he’ll have draft pick compensation attached to him. That means his new team will have to forfeit a draft pick in order to sign him, which could serve as a detriment. Some players with QO compensation attached to them didn’t end up signing until late February ahead of this past season.

The deadline for players to decide whether to accept or reject their qualifying offers is next Monday, November 14.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.