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Giants have had 'preliminary talks' about Ryan Braun

Tires are being kicked. Welcome to silly season.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Braun is owed about $90 million over the next four-and-a-half seasons, and he's 32. Before you ingest any rumor, read that again. It's the warning that the FDA puts on the label. That doesn't sound like the Giants. I don't remember them absorbing that much money on an aging veteran before. Or half that money. Or a quarter of that kind of contract.

However, that's not going to stop the rumors. Here's one from Bob Nightengale:

It's not completely bonkers, though. Braun is having one of his best seasons. And with Angel Pagan being a free agent and none of the young outfielders making a strong case for next year, the Giants might see Braun as a part of a three-year plan, willing to eat the last two years of the deal as a cost of the first three.

He's probably underpaid, if just a bit, you know.

If you're worried about the performance-enhancing drugs, don't overthink it. Here's a video intermission to help you accept that the Giants don't have a zero-tolerance policy:

Braun is more high-profile, of course, and there were extenuating circumstances with Michael Morse, but the Giants are competing against teams that are signing the Jhonnys Peralta of the world to big contacts. They're not going to dismiss an obvious, immediate upgrade to the middle of their lineup, PR be damned.

Here's where the market is hard to read. How many teams can afford Braun? How many are willing to leverage future payroll flexibility like that? Are the Brewers willing to hand the contract away, no backsies? Or are they looking for three or four top prospects in return?

Dunno. That's why the talks are preliminary, I suppose. Everyone's still kicking tires. It still seems very unlikely that the Giants would use all of their assets to get an A-list star in the outfield, considering that they're happy with their current outfielders in theory, just mad at their hamstrings.

At the same time, can you imagine Braun in a fully healthy lineup, where the eighth-place hitter is Brandon Crawford or Matt Duffy? It's a beautiful dream, even if Braun is a little squicky. Hey, I was clamoring for Chase Utley a couple years ago, so trust me, it's very easy to get over general squickiness.

Odds of happening: 2.284 percent. That doesn't mean it isn't a fun rumor, though.