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Yankees rumors: Astros, Red Sox, and Dodgers out on Andrew Miller, so is he Bronx bound?

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GUYS, the painfully slow reveal of which team a reliever will go to might be complete soon. Woo?

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If it seems like the Yankees have been just ever-so-gradually inching toward signing lefty reliever Andrew Miller, then last night's news on Miller brought the two parties closer than ever. After starring for Orioles down the stretch in a 2014 AL East division title run that lasted into the ALCS, the 6'7" southpaw is geared to receive the biggest payday ever for a reliever with no closing experience. A series of tweets and stories regarding the teams interested in Miller appeared to leave the Yankees as the last team standing in the Miller sweepstakes. (Try telling someone just two years ago that "Miller sweepstakes" is a real phrase in the year 2014.)

Within half of an hour late on Monday night, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports revealed recent developments on Miller, primarily that two of Miller's primary suitors might be out of the hunt for him. The Red Sox of course still had interest in Miller after dealing him away at the Trade Deadline in a lost season, though he was excellent out of the bullpen for them since his conversion to relief from the rotation in 2012. The Dodgers have deep pockets and a shaky bullpen outside of Kenley Jansen, so the link there was obvious as well. However, Miller's cost might have deterred them from continuing their pursuit, though with the unpredictability of baseball's off-season, it's hard to rule them out for sure.

About an hour later, Heyman acknowledged another nugget that could push Miller toward the Yankees:

It's been believed for awhile that Miller's goal is a four-year contract, and if the Yankees want to give him that, then it could be the deciding factor. The continued inclusion of the Astros in both this race for Miller and the one for current Yankees closer David Robertson, another free agent, is a little odd considering how far the young team appears to be from playoff contention, but while they have shed a ton of payroll in recent years, owner Jim Crane certainly has the capacity to spend if he so desires. They have barely $25 million committed to the 2015 payroll at the moment; adding even a $13 million per year reliever isn't going to break the bank.

Regardless, Astros beat writer Evan Drellich followed up on Heyman's tweet another hour later with insider information of his own:

...okay, so maybe Crane doesn't want to spend money. What a bizarre team.

So if the reports have said the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Astros are all likely out on Miller, does that leave the Yankees as the clear frontrunners for the lefty? Perhaps, but never forget the meme to end all off-season memes: the #MysteryTeam. Remember, Heyman noted "maybe a third team" when detailing how the "field of 22" had been narrowed down, and in his article, he also said "the latest word is that the Yankees are battling another team or two, including the surprising Astros." The "Mystery Team" could of course be a fabrication by Frontline (Miller's agency) to drive up his market, but if some other team swooped in to sign him, it would be far from the first time a team came out of seemingly nowhere to make a splash.

Although Miller would unquestionably be a boost to the Yankees' bullpen, it would be tough to assess this move so early in the off-season. Signing Miller and remaining stagnant until pitchers and catchers report would really do nothing to address the team's issues, like the sputtering offense and a rotation full of question marks. Signing a solid reliever is the type of move made to push a contending team over the top. The Yankees might dream of a Miller/Dellin Betances combination at the end of games similar to Wade Davis and Greg Holland starring for the AL champion Royals this year. (Man, "AL champion Royals" is a real thing, isn't it? I miss the days of Carlos Febles and Runelvys Hernandez.) Hell, the team has said that even if they signed Miller, that wouldn't necessarily mean that D-Rob is a goner, either.

I just don't buy that the Yankees are actually interested in spending that much money on relievers though. They'll probably choose one of Miller or D-Rob, and that will be that. Again: If they sign Miller or Robertson, it has to be only the first step because this team needs improvement in several areas. It would be nice to fortify the bullpen so that the shaky Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren are somewhat less pivotal to the team's success, but they need to score the runs to get the leads, too.

Hopefully, Heyman is correct in that Miller will make up his mind during the next day or two. Even the best free agent relievers aren't that exciting, and Miller seems to be taking his sweet time. Kindly decide so we can track news on more intriguing additions, sir.