The Washington Times - October 28, 2012, 11:19PM

As the rains from Hurricane Sandy began in the DMV area late Sunday night, the San Francisco Giants were ending the baseball season under a different kind of shower in Detroit.

The Giants became the World Series Champions with a dominant four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers and the 2012 season came to a close.


It seems strange to write that sentence while reflecting on where the Giants where when the Nationals visited San Francisco in mid-August. They were a team with significant issues that got blown out by the Nationals in the first game of their three-game series. A team that lost Melky Cabrera, one of their best players, to a PED suspension before the final game of that series. 

But the Giants were galvanized by the loss of Cabrera and throughout the playoffs they seemed to be that special kind of team that plays well in all facets and gets contributions from even the most unlikeliest of places. (Even one-time 2012 Nationals outfielder Xavier Nady was spraying champagne Sunday night and will get himself a World Series ring after playing in 19 regular season games and four NLDS games for the Giants.)

As Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on the FOX broadcast as Sunday turned to Monday “It really was no contest.”

From the day after the Nationals left San Francisco, the Giants went 30-14 to finish the season and they played with their season on the line six times in the playoffs. They never lost. 

So, there you have it. Another baseball season in the books and almost four months until pitchers and catchers will start popping mitts in Florida and Arizona. 

What happens now?

Well as soon as Buster Posey squeezed Sergio Romo’s final strike Sunday night, Edwin Jackson, Michael Gonzalez and Mark DeRosa became free agents. Chien-Ming Wang did, too. And the Nationals have an exclusive negotiating rights with them until Saturday.

If the club chooses to give any of them a qualifying arbitration offer, the players have until Nov. 9 to accept it. 

The Nationals also have until Saturday to consider their options on Sean Burnett and Adam LaRoche for the 2013 season, or both will become free agents as well.

Both players have mutual options and while both have made it clear they’d like to return to the Nationals it seems somewhat likely in both cases that, if it happens, it’ll be on new deals — not on the existing contractual options. That gives both sides much more time to negotiate but the Nationals won’t be able to negotiate exclusively, however, after Saturday. Any team can make its pitch to both players. 

A long offseason awaits 29 teams outside of San Francisco. It starts Monday.