hal steinbrenner yankees
Jessica Alcheh | USA TODAY Sports

There are seven games left in this miserable Yankees season. They need to win four of them to finish with a winning record, or three to finish .500. High stakes!

And then once this debacle of a campaign mercifully ends in Kansas City next Sunday, the real drama begins. Who is staying (we know Brian Cashman is), who is going (Aaron Boone? Giancarlo Stanton? Gleyber Torres?) and, because it is fresh in our minds at the moment, what the hell is this third-party audit about?

In case you missed it: Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has contracted an outside firm to examine how the Bombers do business. This has been reported by The Associated Press and several local columnists. Everyone has made it sound like it is good news. Even though no one seems to know a) who is doing the auditing and b) what specifically they are auditing.

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Does Deloitte or PwC have an incompetent front office mitigation division? Could Yankees signature partner Starr Insurance somehow be involved? Are they going to send weights and measures in to make sure all of the analytics guys and gals have properly-calibrated algorithms? Could Steinbrenner contract a grizzled baseball man to produce a report, even though grizzled baseball men Omar Minaya and Brian Sabean are already on the payroll?

We are definitely cynical. And we could be wrong. But this feels like an endeavor being blown out of proportions to make it look like Steinbrenner is doing something. A business audit that ends with a new organization chart or business-side people getting golden parachutes is unlikely to change the Yankees’ on-field fortunes, or lack thereof. And it seems very hard that an honest audit of the actual baseball operation can be done. Especially if Cashman is declared untouchable from the jump.

Also: How long is this audit going to take? Are we going to get to Halloween with Boone’s future still in limbo? Are Cashman and Steinbrenner going to wait until Thanksgiving to meet with the media?

Our official Yankees stance: Steinbrenner is not cheap, per se. And we agree with him that you should not need a $300 million payroll to win the World Series. But he employs a general manager who has proven he is incapable of building a championship team under those parameters. So you have two choices: Fire Cashman and get someone who can do it. Or spend a lot of money to buy your way out of his mistakes. So far, the Yankees refuse to do either. And that leads to brutal years like this one.

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.