The Dodgers are in agreement with backstop Tony Wolters on a new minor league contract, according to an announcement from Triple-A communications director Alex Freedman (Twitter link). He’ll return to their top affiliate in Oklahoma City, where he’s spent virtually all of the 2022 season.
Wolters, 30, originally signed a minor league deal with L.A. last summer. He opened the year in Triple-A and has appeared in 50 games there. Across 193 plate appearances, the lefty-hitting catcher posted a .216/.311/.269 line. He didn’t connect on a home run and struck out at an elevated 26.4% rate, although he did draw free passes at a quality 11.4% clip.
Two weeks back, Wolters made his team debut at the big league level. Selected onto the roster when regular backup Austin Barnes was away from the team to tend to a family matter, Wolters spent a weekend as the #2 behind Will Smith. That always looked like a temporary arrangement until Barnes returned to reassume his customary role, and the Dodgers designated Wolters for assignment and released him a few days later. It’s not uncommon for veterans of his ilk to go unclaimed on waivers after brief stints as a depth option in the majors, then to return to the organization on a new minor league arrangement.
Wolters’ tepid offensive output in Triple-A is in line with his body of work at the big league level. He’s never been an impactful hitter, compiling a career .235/.321/.314 line over parts of seven MLB seasons (the bulk of which came with the division-rival Rockies). He’s a highly-rated defender, however, having checked in 24 runs better average in just shy of 3000 MLB innings behind the dish, in the estimation of Defensive Runs Saved. Wolters consistently posts strong pitch framing marks and has thrown out an above-average 30.5% of attempted base-stealers in the majors. That defensive prowess makes him a good fit for the upper level depth role to which he’ll return with Los Angeles.