Gerrit Cole-Austin Wells work foreshadowing Jose Trevino's fate with Yankees?

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

When the New York Yankees arrived at spring training, fans were immediately graced with the annual blindside tackle of injury news. It simply never ends. Manager Aaron Boone revealed reliver Scott Effross underwent back surgery in December and wouldn't return until the middle of the summer.

He wasn't alone, though. Catcher Jose Trevino suffered a calf strain a few weeks before pitchers and catchers reported (how??) and wouldn't be ready for the start of exhibition games. Trevino had already missed most of 2023 with a wrist injury -- he played in only 55 games and hit .210 with a .570 OPS.

Even more concerning? He has virtually no track record of consistency or longevity at the MLB level. His All-Star and Platinum Glove campaign in 2022 only featured 115 games. His 89 games played in 2021 is the second-most for him in a single season. He's entering his age-31 season.

Yankees fans love Trevino, but he's very much not the answer offensively. His defensive contributions and leadership/teammate qualities are unmatched, but the Bombers will need to go with the better player.

Right now (and dating back to September), that would be top prospect Austin Wells, who's getting work in with Gerrit Cole this spring while Trevino is unable to take the field.

Gerrit Cole-Austin Wells work foreshadowing Jose Trevino's fate with Yankees?

Why does this matter? Because Wells, who was the Yankees' primary starter down the stretch (he logged 19 games to close out the season after getting the call from Triple-A), was specifically assigned to catch every other pitcher but Cole in 2023. That was Ben Rortvedt's job.

Now, he's getting reps with the reigning AL Cy Young winner and ripping bombs off Marcus Stroman during live batting practice. Is this foreshadowing Trevino's role as a backup in the Bronx, as long as Wells continues to progress and produces during spring games?

Wells' claim to fame as the Yankees' 2020 first-round draft pick out of Arizona was his accelerated bat, which many scouts believed would be MLB-ready in a couple years' time. There was concern about his defense and ability to stick behind the plate, but he's only grown on that front and owned the role. How is there even a question that he might not be the team's No. 2 catcher?

No shade to Trevino, but he's always felt like a backup catcher. His player profile is defense-first and involves weak contact. Meanwhile, Wells is offense-first and boasts promising power potential while his defense is blossoming. If he's now trusted catching Cole, that could be the first major sign of the tides turning.