Yankees GM Brian Cashman is one of the best GMs in baseball. He has gone out and gotten good players, both through trade and signings, and has built up one of the best minor league systems in the league. Move away from the money, from the power of the Steinbrenner's, Cashman is genius when it comes to building a club. With his contract up this year, it is time for Cashman to move on to a different gig where he can comfortably work with a boss that does not interfere with day to day duties and the media. Steinbrenner recently hinted to forming an advisory group, suggesting that Cashman cannot handle the job on his own.
I would not recommend Cashman going from the Yankees to the Mariners, but several big market clubs could have openings this season. The Phillies are already known to have one, and it is very possible they would move in on Cashman. The Phillies would probably lose GM - to - be Ruben Amaro Jr. by signing Cashman, but bringing in Cashman would help restock the farm system and turn the Phillies into a contender. The Cubs, whose impending sale could change GMs, could move in and make a play for Cashman. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has expressed his discontent with Ned Colletti and could fire him to reunite his manager with his former GM.
As for the Yankees, they have two well qualified assistants ready to take over. Jean Afterman, his assistant, and Damon Oppenheimer, Director of Scouting, who is known for his solid drafting decisions.