Giants reportedly exploring Braun deal with Crew

Giants reportedly exploring Braun deal with Crew

SAN FRANCISCO -- Though fear of tampering charges prevented the Giants from freely expressing any enthusiasm for obtaining Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, manager Bruce Bochy said nothing to dispel San Francisco's possible interest in acquiring the slugging left fielder.

"We're always talking about improving the club, whether it's internally or [if] something from the outside makes sense," Bochy said Monday before the Giants began a three-game series against Braun's Brewers.

USA Today reported the Giants have engaged in "preliminary talks" with the Brewers about a trade for the outfielder. A deal is not believed to be imminent, and Brewers general manager David Stearns said Sunday on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, "There's no need for us to move ... an elite-level player."

It's widely acknowledged throughout baseball that the Giants, who entered Monday leading second-place Los Angeles by five games in the National League West standings, could cement their status as postseason contenders by adding a corner outfielder who doubles as a proven hitter. Right fielder Hunter Pence could be sidelined until early August after right hamstring surgery.

• Braun not focusing on latest trade chatter

Though many insiders believe the Giants will act sooner than later to deal for an outfielder and ease the impact of Pence's absence, waiting until the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline approaches could enable the Giants to avoid parting with top prospects such as infielder Christian Arroyo and right-hander Tyler Beede. If San Francisco has a sizable lead in the division standings, management might feel less compelled to part with any of its leading farmhands.

An American League scout wholeheartedly endorsed the notion of the Giants' acquiring Braun, who entered Monday batting .316 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs to go with a .378 on-base percentage and a .541 slugging percentage.

"He'd be perfect for the Giants," the scout said. "That would be a great get. He wouldn't hit here [at AT&T Park] like he does in Milwaukee, but he would fit really well."

However, the scout added the upstart Seattle Mariners have expressed serious interest in Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and the league's 2011 Most Valuable Player.

Braun said he expects the rumors to persist.

"It seems regardless of which team we're playing, that's the team I'm getting traded to," Braun said before Friday's series opener in San Francisco. "It started when we played the Angels, I was getting traded there. Then we played the Cubs and I was getting traded there, so I'm assuming by this weekend I'll be getting traded to the Dodgers and not the Giants."

Braun, who was suspended 65 games in 2013 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, has a contract with Milwaukee that includes a partial no-trade clause that allows him to veto a trade to a number of teams. The Dodgers and Giants aren't among them, meaning Braun could be dealt to either club without his permission.

"It's impossible not to pay some attention to it," Braun said. "It's impossible to completely avoid it, but I just don't waste much energy thinking about it because obviously most of it's out of my control. I focus on the things I can control like trying to stay healthy, trying to stay on the field and continue to be productive."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.