The Giants have inquired about Ryan Braun

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the San Francisco Giants have had “preliminary talks” about a trade for Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, though there is nothing imminent.

The Giants are hurting in the outfield given the extended absence of Hunter Pence. Of late they’ve signed numerous marginal major league outfield bats, but are obviously exploring the idea of a more substantial replacement. Braun is certainly that, in a number of ways. Contractually he’s still owed more than $100 million, but he is having a fine season, batting .316/.378/.541 with 11 homers through 52 games this year.

Given the money, the Giants would likely not have to give up much in terms of prospects to land Braun in a straight up deal. If Milwaukee wanted some decent players, however, they’d have to eat the bulk of those dollars. Still, it’s a deal that would make a lot of sense for both clubs.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.