Cutch a contender for 'baddest dude in the league'

Cutch a contender for 'baddest dude in the league'

CHICAGO -- Many factors go into deciding which player is crowned Most Valuable Player. For Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, the criteria is simple.

"The MVP should be the baddest dude in the league," Hurdle said.

In Hurdle's mind, the baddest dude in the league is an offensive power. He's a solid baserunner and a standout fielder. The baddest dude in the league is the whole package.

And even with the unofficial name change, the player who wins the MVP Award, at least for Hurdle, still should have the edge in what that middle letter stands for.

"The way I try to view it is what the absence of what guy with what team would have the greatest impact in that team's overall performance if he wasn't having the season he's having," Hurdle said. "Goes back to being the baddest dude in the league."

Remove center fielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates and the Bucs likely wouldn't be three games out of the second National League Wild Card spot.

Take Giants catcher Buster Posey out from behind the dish and San Francisco likely wouldn't be running away with the NL West.

If there's no Ryan Braun in the middle of the Brewers' order, Milwaukee likely isn't making a late-season surge -- and passing the Pirates along the way.

But here's the thing: only one of those teams, if the season ended today, would be in the playoffs. That doesn't necessarily knock McCutchen or Braun from consideration for baddest dude in the league, though.

"You're looking for a position player at a high-impact position who's done a remarkable job and made a significant difference for his particular club, and where they are throughout the season in the standings," Hurdle said.

Hurdle also made a point that the best public relations for a player comes from within the league. In McCutchen's case, Hurdle said his impact has been evident in how other clubs attack him.

"He's one of the guys, I would think, when you talk about, 'We're not going to let this guy beat us,' he would be the guy for us," Hurdle said. "I would think that conversation would probably happen more often than not."

Which is one reason why McCutchen is under consideration for baddest dude in the league.