Detroit — The Tigers once had Andrew Miller. The Tigers once tried to trade for Andrew Miller. But the Tigers won't be bringing back Andrew Miller.
A source close to the player told The News on Monday night that the Tigers "never" reached out to the agents for the left-handed reliever, who is believed to be drawing as much interest as any available player.
Reports say Miller has received several offers for three years, and figures to sign for four — somewhere in the $32 million to $40 million range. It's believed Miller is nearing a final decision, and could be waiting for the first time to offer the fourth year.
That never seemed realistic for a Tigers team that needs multiple relievers, and it seems out of the question now.
Miller, 29, is coming off an impressive three-year run that included a career year in 2014, split between the Red Sox and Orioles.
Last season, Miller allowed 33 hits in 62.1 innings, while striking out an unbelievable 103.
The Red Sox, well out of contention last July, shopped Miller, and the Tigers were "close" to a deal, a source told The News. But he was sent to the Orioles for a minor-league left-hander.
For the Orioles, he stayed sharp, and was a big key to their three-game sweep of the Tigers in the American League Division Series.
The Red Sox traded Miller with the understanding they would try to re-sign him this winter, and given what they did Monday — signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez for around $188 million — money is no object. They could be the front-runner for Miller's services, though the competition is stiff, and extensive.
Miller was a first-round draft pick by the Tigers in 2006, out of the University of North Carolilna.
A starter in those days, he actually debuted late in the 2006 season, and threw the pitch in relief that clinched the Tigers their first playoff appearance since 1987.
Two offseasons later, he was dealt to the Marlins with a bevy of prospects that landed the Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.
Eventually, the Marlins made him a full-time reliever, and with a three-quarters arm slot and good deception, that's the role he thrived in with the Red Sox, getting left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters out an equally impressive clip.
The last three seasons, Miller has struck out 202 in just 133.1 innings, while posting a WHIP of 1.050.
All that could net him the largest contract ever for a pitcher with no closing experience.