There's no doubt that Derek Jeter, despite producing at an all-time low, is the most profitable player on the New York Yankees.
Jeter sells tickets. He sells jerseys. He's a walking advertisement for everything that is the New York Yankees.
Most teams have at least one star attraction who draws fans. Maybe he's a good-looking guy, or maybe he's an electrifying player. Or maybe he's both, and he's Jacoby Ellsbury.
Pitchers will draw the short straw on this list unfortunately. Fans buy tickets in advance. With starting rotations in flux throughout the season, it's an educated guess as to who will pitch when. You think I wanted to see John Lackey face off against Bruce Chen last Wednesday night?
Even for losing teams, it's important to have at least one guy who can sell seats. The Houston Astros had the player in Hunter Pence, and now he's gone.
Everybody knew the Astros would sellers at the trade deadline, but with Pence gone, there's no reason to talk about the Astros. You could never say that about the hapless Toronto Blue Jays when Roy Halladay was on the team.
Some teams, of course, have more than one marquee player, making this choice much more difficult. There's plenty to choose from on the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.
But for some teams, there's one player they absolutely cannot lose.