Rangers sign RHP Gray to 4-year deal

December 2nd, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers took a big step toward addressing the need within the rotation, signing pitcher Jon Gray to a four-year deal, the team announced on Wednesday.

Gray's signing was the third major announcement of the day for the Rangers, after they announced long-term deals with infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Terms of Gray's deal weren't announced, but a source told MLB.com that the contract is worth $56 million.

Gray, 30, has spent his entire career with the Rockies after being drafted third overall in the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He has posted a 4.59 ERA (107 ERA+) and 1.34 WHIP over 829 1/3 innings in his career.

Since 2016, his first full big league season, Gray has been among the National League leaders in innings pitched (788 2/3), strikeouts (809) and wins (53). During that time, he’s also posted a 4.54 ERA (108 ERA+).

Unlike most pitchers, Gray pitched better at the Rockies’ home of Coors Field than on the road, posting a 4.02 home ERA and a 5.22 road ERA in 2021. The right-hander has an upper-90s fastball and a slider/curveball/changeup mix that could be effective in Globe Life Field.

Gray is also a significant upgrade for the Rangers' rotation, which had the third-worst ERA (5.33) in MLB in 2021. After dealing ace Kyle Gibson to the Phillies at the Trade Deadline, the Rangers were devoid of veteran pitching talent and leaned primarily on Jordan Lyles, whose main role was eating innings.

The Rangers have a plethora of young pitching talent, both at the big league level -- Taylor Hearn, Spencer Howard, No. 23 prospect Glenn Otto and No. 21 prospect A.J. Alexy -- and throughout the farm system, starting with top-ranked prospect Jack Leiter. Gray’s addition brings stability in the rotation and a veteran presence for a youthful pitching staff.

Gray has struggled at times since making his debut in 2015, including a career-high 6.69 ERA during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but it’s another step forward for the Rangers in their journey to contention. A full season away from Coors at a more pitcher-friendly home in Globe Life Field may be what Gray needs to thrive.