Hal Steinbrenner jameson taillon yankees
Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

Let us go back to March. Down in Tampa. A few weeks before this debacle of a Yankees season began.

“I will say that you shouldn’t have to have a $300 million payroll to win a world championship,” Hal Steinbrenner told members of the Bombers’ press corps.

We drag this quote back up five months later not to inflame, but to inform. Because it sums up the Yankees’ current disastrous state in tidy fashion.

Steinbrenner is right. And wrong. It should not take that much money to win the World Series. But if his team is serious about winning one, that is exactly what he has to do. Steinbrenner either fails to understand this or refuses to accept it. Which is why he is most to blame for where his Yankees stand.

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It has become painfully obvious Brian Cashman is not capable of winning championships inside of Steinbrenner’s guardrails. Business logic would then suggest the owner fire his general manager and go find someone who can win a title playing under the house rules. But Steinbrenner is wildly devoted to Cashman. So that brings him to the other door: Break out the checkbook and spend your way out of Cashman’s years-long roster mismanagement. But he will not do that either.

So here we are. A 60-64 record, an eight-game losing streak, a 9.5-game hole for the final AL wild card spot. All on Steinbrenner’s ledger.

Yes, Cashman has driven the organization into the ground. Yes, manager Aaron Boone will likely get scapegoated. Yes, Giancarlo Stanton’s contract and health have held the operation back. And on and on. There are plenty other folks to blame — Aroldis Chapman, the Astros, et cetera. But it all starts at the top. Steinbrenner empowered Cashman and has declined to intervene as things have gradually declined. He owns this disgrace of a summer. And the failures of the last 14 years.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.