Walker, Hellickson accept $17.2M qualifying offers

NEW YORK (AP) Mets second baseman Neil Walker and Philadelphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson have accepted $17.2 million qualifying offers, giving up free agency to stay with their teams.

Eight other free agents did not accept the offers from their former teams by Monday's 5 p.m. EST deadline: outfielders Jose Bautista (Toronto), Yoenis Cespedes (Mets), Ian Desmond (Texas), Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs) and Mark Trumbo (Baltimore), designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto); closer Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers); and third baseman Justin Turner (Dodgers).

Walker and Hellickson are signed players with Monday's decisions and could be eligible for free agency again after next season.

''Happy to say I'm back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let's go Mets!'' Walker tweeted on Monday.

The Mets got Walker in a trade with Pittsburgh last December. He hit .282 with 23 homers and 55 RBIs in 113 games with New York before his season was cut short by back surgery.

The 31-year-old Walker, a first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft, broke into the majors with the Pirates in 2009 and is a .273 hitter with 116 homers and 473 RBIs in 949 career games.

Hellickson was traded from Arizona to Philadelphia last November. The 29-year-old right-hander went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts for the lowly Phillies this year.

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