Did the Reds make a mistake at the 2023 trade deadline?

The Reds may have let one of their top prospects go a bit prematurely.

Joe Boyle
Joe Boyle / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Last season, the Cincinnati Reds sole in-season trade was acquiring left-handed reliever Sam Moll as well as cash from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for 2020 fifth-round draft pick, Joe Boyle.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander has some great stuff in his repertoire. His fastball sits mid-to-upper 90’s and will touch triple digits. Boyle throws his 12-6 curveball around 80 mph, and has been working on a slider that gives some late pull.

He made it to the big leagues last season for a cup of coffee, starting in three games for Oakland. Despite only tossing 16 innings, Boyle was extremely effective striking out 15 and walking only 8.3% of the batters he faced. In his final outing of 2023, Boyle took a no hitter into the seventh inning against the Angels.

Did the Reds make a mistake trading Joe Boyle for Sam Moll?

Boyle has made drastic strides this spring with his control. Many people believe that some of his control problems may have stemmed from the specific ball that was used in the Southern League last season while he was with the Reds. When looking at Boyle's splits at Double-A, his numbers were consistently worse than they were in any other league.

Moll has proven his worth for the Reds. Moll appeared in 25 games for Cincinnati in 2023 and only gave up two runs in 24.2 innings pitched. Moll is certainly more of a contact pitcher than Boyle, striking out only 22 batters while walking 11.

Another disparity is age. Moll is entering his age-32 season while Boyle won’t be turning 25 years old until August. I think the reason the Reds made this trade was to help fix the rotating door of relievers the team was using , which is understandable. However, it feels like this could've been a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

The Reds finally started to have some home-grown success last season with many prospects making it to the big leagues. And while they have a young starting rotation with nearly unlimited potential, the same can’t be said for the bullpen.

I believe that the Reds did indeed make a mistake not seeing Boyle through. I think he could’ve been an amazing future asset and could have been part of a dominant one-two punch out of the pen with Alexis Diaz.

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