Tell me, if I asked you who holds the most difficult job in the entire Yankees organization, what would you tell me?
Would you say that it's CC Sabathia, the staff ace and the guy who is pretty much expected to win every fifth day?
Would you say that it's Joe Girardi, the manager, responsible for finding that perfect balance for all of the team's egos whilst being expected to make the correct in-game decisions 100% of the time?
Would you say that it's Brian Cashman, general manager of the New York Yankees?
I didn't think so.
When most people think of Brian Cashman's job, they think of "the guy who gets to fill in the numbers on the Steinbrenners' checks" or "the guy who decides which superstar players to sign and which ones to trade all the prospects for."
Either way, Cashman's job isn't usually viewed as one that comes with much stress or requires all that much intelligence.
However, the fact is, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Brian Cashman essentially holds the fate of the Yankees (in both the short-term and long-term) in his hands. While he may have a much more lenient budget than most GMs, he has a budget nonetheless, one which has continued to shrink in recent years.
In fact, Cashman is now faced with the Herculean task of bringing the Yankees' payroll all the way down from around $205-210 million in 2012 to $189 million in 2014 to avoid a luxury tax of around $60 million.
While he doesn't get nearly enough credit, Brian Cashman has been an excellent GM for the Yankees since taking the job in 1998. He has seen the Yankees teams that he has put together win four World Series titles, six AL Pennants, 11 AL East titles and two AL Wild Cards, only watching one of his teams miss the playoffs in 2008.
That's a pretty impressive line, if I do say so myself.
Cashman has made some brilliant moves as Yankees GM.
As far as trades go, he brought Roger Clemens to the Bronx in 1999, acquired A-Rod from the Rangers in 2004 and may have pulled off another great one this offseason when he landed the young Michael Pineda from Seattle.
Through free agency, "Cash" has been able to bring in guys like El Duque, Alfonso Soriano, Chien-Ming Wang, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. Perhaps his best offseason was after that dark 2008 season, when he signed CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira and also pulled off what has been a steal of a trade for Nick Swisher.
What makes Cashman so great at his job is his ability to deal with the constant pressure and criticism that comes along with the New York territory.
The organization, the fans and everyone else connected to the Yankees expects what no one should ever expect, and that's perfection.
If Cashman isn't perfect, he gets criticized; that's just the way it works in his profession.
He will be entering his 15th year as Yankees GM in 2012, so I think it's safe to say he can handle, and likely already has, anything that the job throws at him.
Regardless, next time you're watching a Yankees game and see CC punch out a batter or Tex jack one into the upper deck, remember the guy who brought them to the Bronx and give Brian Cashman a little credit.
God knows he's earned it.