Great question, cash can be king in this market typically because of its ability to close quicker than financing.
Regarding offer price, have your agent get you the most up to date market trends. There are also some other tricks to getting a great price approved on a short sale that your agent should do for you!
Keep in mind, no agent makes the price the market does, if your agent is not getting you the information on the market trends or giving you the proper advice on closing short sales, contact me and I'll get you the most up to date stats for the area.
Good luck with your search, I hope this helps!