I haven't a clue how Carroll acquired his information---and if creating an inference from an inference is bad, then a blogger conveying the words of another blogger as truth has got to be ten times worse. Nevertheless, there's at least a semblance of merit in what Carroll is saying, as real journalists have also linked Cashman to the Nats. Furthermore, we already know (and were recently reminded) that one ownership group appears to favor Byrnes.
Now that we've laid a foundation, allow me to do some speculating of my own. While we've been assured that approval of an owner will come "fast," what happens to Brian Cashman in the next couple weeks might serve as an indicator of the eventual winner's identity in these protracted ownership sweepstakes. Let's do the math:
- We know (or confidently suspect) that there are two major players left standing: Team Malek and Smulyan (d/b/a Team Emmis).
- We have been told consistently that Malek favors Byrnes.
- Bud Selig is disinclined to extend Jim Bowden's contract beyond an at-will basis.
- In addition (if we can trust Carroll), "[a]t least two of the groups" have indicated they don't want to bring back Bowden.
- One of these groups is likely Malek's.
- I submit that the other group is likely Smulyan's.
- Brian Cashman is linked to the Nats job and (again, if we can trust Carroll) the choice of "one group."
- I submit that this "one group" is one and the same with the second aforementioned group not interested in retaining Bowden's services.
- Therefore, I submit that . . .
- . . . Brian Cashman would be Smulyan's choice as general manager.
But I think observing Cashman's moves in the near future could shed some light on where this ownership thing is heading in the next month or two, if it is heading anywhere at all.
Late Edit: It is possible to theorize that Cashman would be Smulyan's pick without using a single assumption derived from Carroll's link above. Clues seem to indicate that two major players are left, Smulyan and Malek are those players, Malek favors Byrnes, and Cashman's name has been linked to the Nats. Under this analysis, Smulyan and Cashman would then be linked. But we'll see.
Even Later Edit: In an afternoon chat, St. Barry of Svrluga cautions us to go "[e]asy on the Smulyan talk. Anyone who believes he's got the club is off base, from my understanding." Later on, he notes that Smulyan needs all the local help he can get. Still later, he notes the "Smulyan's is being set up to take the Reds" theory---which, of course, isn't all that new.