Yankees could shake up the catcher position in 2024

mlb: new york yankees at houston astros, austin wells
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are at a crossroads when it comes to getting consistent offensive production from their catcher position, something they’ve been missing since the early Gary Sánchez era. With 2024 looming on the horizon, the organization has a multifaceted dilemma, given that each of their current catchers brings a unique set of skills to the table.

Roster Contenders for 2024: The Knowns and Unknowns

José Trevino, Austin Wells, Kyle Higashioka, and Ben Rortvedt are all slated to remain under contract for the 2024 season. Two names stand out as likely to stick around—unless traded, of course. Trevino, a defensive wizard who bagged a Platinum Glove in 2022 but struggles at the plate, and Wells, a player with significant offensive upside yet unimpressive production and some defensive questions to date.

Trevino managed to pull off decent hitting numbers in 2022, but this season saw a sharp decline, posting a meager slash line of .210/.257/.312 with a .570 OPS. Ideally, he’d share the role with a catcher known for offensive prowess, like Wells, provided he starts living up to his minor league stats—a promising 16 home runs this year across Double-A and Triple-A—instead of his underwhelming .339 OPS in the majors.

Who Will Fill in the Yankees’ Catcher’s Role Alongside Trevino?

This situation could force the Yankees to choose between Higashioka, who has a .684 OPS with 10 home runs this season, and Rortvedt, who is sitting on a .455 OPS, for that coveted roster spot. If Wells makes the cut for the MLB roster, one of these two could find themselves back in the minors. Rortvedt still has a minor league option left, whereas Higashioka doesn’t. Should he fail to make the cut, Higashioka may well be looking for new MLB opportunities with another team.

The Austin Wells Factor

Ultimately, many of the Yankees’ decisions will hinge on what they choose to do with Austin Wells. Is he ready for the big leagues, or does he require additional seasoning in Triple-A? For what it’s worth, he’s been putting in the work and adjusting his approach to the game.

The Open Competition for the Catcher Role

There’s no question that if he stays healthy, Trevino will have a role to play in the Yankees’ 2024 plans. The larger question is, who will be catching alongside him? As of now, that remains an open competition, and how this puzzle will be solved could largely depend on individual performances and organizational strategy.

All in all, the Yankees have some difficult but necessary decisions to make about their catcher position, and the choices they make could significantly influence their prospects for the 2024 season.

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