Higashioka deserves the world, but he doesn't make much sense on any version of the 2024 Yankees' roster, especially with Ben Rortvedt at Triple-A as an emergency catcher (and Ben Rice and Agustin Ramirez, presumably, looming behind).
It will take a non-tender to get Higashioka off the 2024 roster and into free agency, but carrying three catchers makes no sense over the course of a 162-game season, let alone four. Two of Wells, Rortvedt, Higgy, and Jose Trevino have to go (or go to the minors) by the time the curtain rises next year. The Yankees have dedicated themselves to Wells' development this fall, and sending him to Triple-A to begin the season would seem foolish. Trevino, a 2022 All-Star and Platinum Glove winner, shouldn't go anywhere once he's fully recovered from wrist surgery. If the Yankees need some insurance at the position, they have a good deal of talent in the upper minors (add Carlos Narvaez to that list). That's a good thing, but it also represents a logjam they have to clear out soon, and making Wells' promotion permanent should do just that.
Higashioka, who grew up with Gerrit Cole and grew up in the system with Aaron Judge, has been a very fun Yankee. He's in the midst of his best season, which began with a ride on Team USA's bench in the World Baseball Classic, then featured a 10-bomb power surge. He's eligible for arbitration again next season, his final year of control before he enters free agency. Expect the Yankees to do what they couldn't bear to with Gary Sánchez and non-tender Higashioka with plenty of time on the clock for him to find a new home.