Even before the Yankees’ 2005 fate is decided, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney claims the departure of GM Brian Cashman is a forgone conclusion.

So now that Gene Michael is being marginalized by Steinbrenner, likely for good, it is big news. Next to go, in all likelihood, will be Brian Cashman, the general manager since 1998, as the power struggles play out within the Yankees’ organization. Michael and Cashman have had something in common during their years with the team: They have always been deeply loyal to the Yankees, as an institution, and made recommendations and decisions meant to best serve the organization. This summer, for instance, Cashman has lobbied hard to hang on to the most recent generation of prospects, rather than deal them, while probably knowing he won’t be around to see them blossom in the majors.