Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen has "vaulted past mere stardom and his stature as the so-called face of a small-market franchise," according to Bob Cohn of the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW. McCutchen is "marketable and saleable, good for business and not just the Pirates'." His '13 NL MVP award "is nice, but McCutchen has made it in another way: He is a brand." Full Athlete Marketing Owner John Fuller, whose firm represents McCutchen, said, "It's been an amazing rate of growth." New Era Head of Sports & Entertainment Marketing Braden Dahl: "We've seen the trajectory of his awareness. The McCutchen brand has definitely skyrocketed in the last two years. He's always been a great player, and now he's become a household name." Cohn noted McCutchen "is one of eight baseball players" representing New Era. Additionally, his likeness will appear on the back cover of "MLB '14: The Show," and he will again be "part of the ad campaign surrounding" the videogame's release. McCutchen also has "marketing agreements with Marucci bats and Hunt Auctions, and on Friday, he renewed his deal with T-Mobile." T-Mobile VP/Media & Sponsorships Mike Belcher said the company plans to "use him more prominently in our marketing communications." McCutchen said of his brand, "It's good to have an image. ... I have a lot more opportunities at-hand to be able to do different things. I don't mind it. I don't have to say yes to everything." MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said, "Andrew is on every list of ours. ... He exudes confidence and personality and a certain joie de vivre. He takes the field with enthusiasm. He appears in public. He's got a magnetic smile." Cohn noted McCutchen's jerseys were "the eighth-highest seller after the All-Star break" last season (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/23
I (DON'T) WANT MY MTV: In Pittsburgh, Rob Biertempfel reported McCutchen has "pulled out as co-executive producer of a proposed series that will air on MTV." The series, "which has not started production, is planned for 30 episodes." McCutchen said, "I went into it not knowing the full level of commitment I'd have to give. It's a full season of shows, and I can't give up that much time" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/22).
All four of the Red Sox' projected starting infielders are "expected to have contracts this season to wear spikes" manufactured by Boston-based New Balance, according to Steve Buckley of the BOSTON HERALD. While Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia already has a deal with New Balance, "nothing has been announced yet" for 1B Mike Napoli, 3B Will Middlebrooks and SS Xander Bogaerts. Napoli said, "I had some foot issues last year with plantar fasciitis and I found a cleat that was comfortable for my foot. Not that Nike wasn’t good, but putting on a cleat that’s good for my foot, the comfortability is amazing." Middlebrooks, who wore Nike products prior to this season, said of the New Balance deal, "Why not? They’re a Boston company, they’re available to us and they make a really good product. It’s the most comfortable shoe for my foot. Nike might be the best for someone, Reebok might be the best for somebody. But New Balance was the best for me" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/23).