Trevor Story isn’t the only free agent Rockie of interest to the Texas Rangers this winter.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the team is reportedly interested in right-hander Jon Gray and that interest is ‘legitimate’.
Gray, 30, is one of the better free agent starters available this off-season. Our Chris Bachman even ranked him as one of the most impactful free agents the Rangers could sign this off-season.
A look into his 2021 numbers reveal a roughly average pitcher, with a 4.59 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. His WHIP was high, clocking in at 1.33, a product of walking 3.5 batters per nine innings. The FIP number of 4.22 is a little more appealing, for sure.
Jon Gray is being targeted by the Texas Rangers as they scour the free agent market for pitching upgrades
It’s also important to remember that Gray was pitching half of his starts at Coors Field, which certainly accounts for some statistical inflation. Pitching in a spacious ballpark minus the altitude such as Globe Life Field would be more conducive to success for Gray, at least in theory.
Another factor to consider with the big righty is that he does not come attached with a qualifying offer, meaning he wouldn’t require draft pick compensation to sign. For a team like the Texas Rangers that is still in rebuild mode, that’s a huge plus. On the other hand, that also makes him attractive to other teams, so competition should be stiff for his services.
Starting pitching should be a priority for the Rangers this off-season, with upgrades badly needed across the board. Jon Gray would check that box, and his home in Oklahoma seems to be a driving force for him, as Arlington is closer to Oklahoma than Denver.
As for financials, it would appear Gray is in line for a payday similar to that of Steven Matz, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week for four years and $44 million. At $11 million per season, Gray would be plenty affordable for the Rangers and would allow them to maintain spending flexibility as they chase other targets in free agency as well.
Overall, Jon Gray looks like a worthy signing for the Texas Rangers should the two sides get a deal done. He wouldn’t be too expensive, he has strikeout stuff and perhaps best of all, no draft pick compensation.