Red Sox need Aaron Judge for more than just his MVP-like production

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 23: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees flies out in the first inning in game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on October 23, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 23: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees flies out in the first inning in game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on October 23, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Let’s travel back in Boston Red Sox history to 1957 — a year I just plucked out as an example. I’ll set the stage at Fenway Park, but it could be old Briggs Field or Cominsky Park. There are two outs, the bases are empty, and the Red Sox are at the plate trailing a couple runs or tied. No one cares. What’s important is about to happen, though.

Up to the plate strides a legend who’s no longer a gangly youth but in the senior stages of a baseball career. Ted Williams is about to take his cuts. Vendors stop, the restrooms are empty, and a special event occurs. No matter what happens when the moment is over, the stands start to empty. They stayed around to witness one last at-bat of TSW.

Rare is the player that generates that level of excitement and anticipation. Worth the price of a ticket. That special player who even looks good striking out. Boston’s last one was David Ortiz, who was the complete package with the bat, especially in clutch situations.

Who is worth it today? Look at the Red Sox roster. Do you patiently wait for a Rafael Devers at-bat? Devers is a fearsome hitter, but not one close to Williams or Ortiz. The same applies to everyone on the Red Sox’ 2022 roster (and probably the 2023 roster). However, there’s one such player that has become available, and that’s Aaron Judge.

When the Yankees were in town, I stayed awake when Judge came to bat. He’s physically intimidating, a proven slugger, and certainly gets the attention of fans. That happens when balls routinely land in places where few have landed in the past.

Baseball is entertainment and can be fantastic when it combines personality with talent (such as Ortiz). That’s not Judge, who is a peaceful giant, not a vocal one. Judge’s claim to fame is his raw power that could be the best baseball has witnessed in 20 years.

The Red Sox are an attendance dynamo that can draw even with a garbage product like 2022. Without Judge, they would still fill seats, but it would be a boring presentation. There’d be no real anticipation of witnessing a ball being mutilated or a pitcher being terrorized. With Judge, it would be back to packed house days.

The Boston Red Sox need to seriously consider signing Aaron Judge

The issue should not be of monetary concern but one of presentation. A bland meal can be improved dramatically with the proper presentation. Judge is a great seasoning for watching your average game. Then there’s a need.

The Red Sox are traditionally an offensive juggernaut, and in 2022 it was indeed a step back, especially in the long ball department. Judge can provide that and more. This is a player with the tools, and this is not Manny Ramirez or Williams giving back on defense what was earned via offense. Judge is an accomplished defensive player, possesses a strong arm, has a high baseball IQ, and, surprisingly, is an adept base runner.

Judge will have a limited market based on his contract demands. Expect only the Giants, Dodgers, Mets and Yankees to open the coffers, but it will not be all about the money.

Free agency allows a certain degree of selectiveness. A player may wish to be in a market noted for its fan base; a team that’s on the cusp of winning; an area that’s comfortable to live in. You get the picture.

Pitching is critical for the 2023 Sox … but so what? An opportunity that presents itself like this one is just too delicious to ignore.

With Judge in 2023, the Red Sox may not return to juggernaut status, but it will be far more enjoyable witnessing that special moment late in a game when a Judge at-bat is nearing.