After playing in parts of seven Major League seasons, Tony Wolters has officially retired. The catcher made the announcement on his Instagram page, and noted that he’ll be joining the Rockies in a coaching capacity. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes that Wolters will be the bench coach for the Rockies’ rookie ball affiliate in the Arizona Complex League.
“There have been countless moments in my career that have been etched in my memory, as if they happened just yesterday,” Wolters said as part of his Instagram message. “Those moments will be experiences that I will never take for granted and still wonder how I became so lucky to be apart of them. Today, after 13 years of being a professional baseball player, I have made the decision to retire from the sport that gave me so many incredible experiences. I feel an immense amount of gratitude towards the game and all the people that it brought into my life.”
Cleveland selected Wolters in the third round of the 2010 draft, and after the Rockies claimed the catcher off waivers in February 2016, Wolters made his MLB debut in a Colorado uniform less than two months later. That kicked off a five-season run for Wolters in Denver, as the left-handed hitter paired with such righty-swinging backstops as Nick Hundley, Jonathan Lucroy, Chris Iannetta, Elias Diaz, and others in a backup capacity or in a more steady platoon.
There was some fluctuation in Wolters’ year-to-year glovework metrics, but by and large, he was considered a strong defensive catcher. He finished his career with +24 Defensive Runs Saved, and the Statcast numbers gave him positive grades for his pitch-framing and throwing. Wolters threw out 65 of 213 baserunners, for an impressive 30.52% caught stealing rate over his career.
Known more for his glove than his bat, Wolters hit .235/.321/.314 over 1266 career plate appearances. However, the signature moment of his career happened at the plate, when Wolters drove in the winning run in the 2018 wild card game. With the Rockies and Cubs tied 1-1 in the top of the 13th inning, Wolters sent a single up the middle to score Trevor Story from third base, giving the Rox a 2-1 lead that held through the bottom of the inning. That game stands out as the Rockies’ most recent postseason victory, as the Brewers then swept the Rox in three games in the NLDS.
After Wolters was non-tendered following the 2020 season, he landed with the Pirates, Cubs, Dodgers, and Twins on a series of deals (all minors contracts except for a big league deal with Chicago) over the last three years. Wolters appeared 14 MLB games with the Cubs in 2021, two games with the Dodgers in 2022, and his minor league pact with the Twins last winter was entirely spent at the Triple-A level.
Wolters is still just 31 years old, but he’ll now hang up his glove for a new path as a coach. We at MLB Trade Rumors wish Wolters all the best in his post-playing endeavors, and congratulate him on a fine career on the field.