The free-agent market became a bit clearer today, as Phillies righty Jeremy Hellickson accepted a qualifying offer and Mets second baseman Neil Walker followed suit. The other eight eligible players declined, keeping them free agents. Hellickson and Walker confirmed their decisions, while the clubs have done so for Ian Desmond (Rangers), Dexter Fowler (Cubs), Kenley Jansen (Dodgers) and Justin Turner (Dodgers). The other players and clubs have not confirmed.A qualifying offer is a one-year, $17.2 million contract. If a player accepts the qualifying offer -- as the Orioles' Matt Wieters, the Astros' Colby Rasmus and the Dodgers' Brett Anderson did a year ago -- he commits to staying with his team in 2017 for the designated salary. The 10 players who received a qualifying offer amounted to half of last year's total.
The players who declined remain free agents, but they will have Draft-pick compensation attached to him. Any team that signs a free agent who has declined a qualifying offer must surrender its first-round Draft pick -- unless it's a top 10 selection, which is protected. In that case, the team surrenders its second-round pick.Below are the players -- listed based on their Tom Tango rankings -- who've received a qualifying offer. Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers -- Declined qualifying offer Turner came out at No. 1 on Tango's free-agent rankings, and it will be interesting what kind of contract he ends up with after a mid-career renaissance turned him into an elite hitter in his late 20s.Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets -- Reportedly declined (club has not confirmed) Cespedes has already opted out of the final two years and $47.5 million of a three-year contract he signed with the Mets last winter, and he is No. 2 on Tango's rankings. He has been highly productive since joining the Mets at the 2015 Trade Deadline, posting a .282/.348/.554 slash line with 48 home runs and 130 RBIs in 189 games.Edwin Encarnacion, DH/1B, Blue Jays -- Reportedly declined (club has not confirmed) Encarnacion is No. 3 on Tango's rankings after another productive season, hitting 42 home runs with 127 RBIs in 160 games. He has collected at least 34 homers in each of the past five seasons, driving in 100 or more runs four times in that span.Dexter Fowler, OF, Cubs -- Declined qualifying offer Fowler declined his portion of a mutual option to become a free agent, and he was then extended a qualifying offer.Ian Desmond, SS/OF, Rangers -- Declined qualifying offer Desmond received a qualifying offer for the second straight offseason, this time from the Rangers. The former Nationals shortstop transitioned to the outfield in Texas after not signing with the Rangers until February. Desmond hit .285 with 22 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 2016.Neil Walker, 2B, Mets -- Accepted qualifying offer Walker was on his way to a successful first season with the Mets before he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk in September. Walker matched his career high with 23 home runs and hit .282 with 55 RBIs in 113 games.Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays -- Reportedly declined (club has not confirmed) Bautista is coming off a season in which in he had two stints on the disabled list and saw his overall production dip (1.0 WAR), though he still ranked among the MLB leaders in walk rate. The veteran hit 22 homers in 116 games, while his .452 slugging percentage was his lowest since 2009 (.408).Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers -- Declined qualifying offer Jansen is arguably the top closer on the market, but unlike Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon -- the other contenders for that title -- he is the only one who was eligible to receive a QO, as Chapman and Melancon were traded during the 2016 season.Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Phillies -- Accepted qualifying offer Hellickson was one of the surprises of the season, going 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts. The 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner turns 30 in April and matched his career high in innings this year with 189.Mark Trumbo, OF, Orioles -- Reportedly declined (club has not confirmed) Trumbo led the Majors with 47 homers in his first year with the Orioles. He appeared in 159 games and set career highs with 108 RBIs, a .533 slugging percentage and an .850 OPS.MLB.com