Over the weekend, Buster Olney wrote a blog titled, "Why Cashman Could Walk," which included industry chatter about the general manager's uncertain future with the Yankees.
"I think maybe he's finally had it," said one GM. "That's a job that will take a lot out of you."
If this all sounds familiar, it's because we've been down this road before. Every three years, Cashman's contract runs out and every three years the 43-year-old ultimately returns to the only baseball home he's ever known. Cyclically-speaking, it's like the Olympics of Yankee beat reporting.
Quoted by Olney, Cashman didn't sound like a man itching to skip town, either.
"I'm not looking to leave. I'm not looking to go anywhere. I firmly believe this will be the best job I'll ever have."
There will always be the debate in Yankees Universe of how good Cashman actually is at his job. Is he the ultimate company man, a hard-working, well-connected executive responsible for New York's annual postseason appearances? Or is he a below-average talent evaluator who can sweep his many mistakes under the rug thanks to the Yankees' largess?
Carl Pavano aside, I tend to fall in the former camp, though I can certainly understand the other end of the argument.
And that's really the problem with Cashman's job, isn't it? No matter how well he does — and let's not get it twisted, the signings and subsequent success of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia have saved this Yankees season — there will always be the detractors who say he's just a privileged rich kid who gets to use daddy's credit card.
Cashman has both the hardest and easiest job of any general manager in sports. It just depends on who you ask.
You have to wonder if the murkiness that surrounds his professional reputation gnaws at Cashman. The man certainly has an ego, no longer the wallflower who stayed in the distance during clubhouse controversies of the past. From the messy Derek Jeter negotiations to the fallout from the Rafael Soriano press conference to his blunt honesty when Jorge Posada benched himself, Cashman has become the unlikely source of some of the juiciest back-page headlines in New York.
Taking that healthy sense of self-worth into account, wouldn't it make sense for him to try to prove himself in a new market?
Think about it. Say Cashman walks after this year and catches on somewhere like Kansas City or Seattle or San Diego. If he built any of those franchises into winners, wouldn't he be completely vindicated? All those GM rankings lists you see will finally have to bump him to the top of the list.
Meanwhile, the bill is coming due on this veteran Yankees team, as the next five years will be the most difficult in terms of transition since Mickey and Whitey got old in the mid-60s. Does Cashman want any part of that dirty work?
"I don't think he has any idea how different his life would be if he wasn't general manager of the Yankees," one high-ranking executive said.
High-ranking executive guy is right. Cashman doesn't know anything about anything other than the Yankees. Still young, and undoubtedly in demand, the time might be right for Cash to go on a new adventure.
Dan Hanzus is a regular contributor to Pinstripe Alley. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @danhanzus.