CN citizen agrees to four-year contract with the Texas Rangers

Former Oklahoma Sooner and Cherokee Nation citizen Jon Gray stands in front of Texas Rangers signage in this photo posted on his Twitter account Dec. 4, 2021. Gray and the Rangers agreed to a four-year contract in December. 

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The Texas Rangers announced in December that the club has agreed to terms with free agent right-handed pitcher and Cherokee Nation citizen Jon Gray on a four-year contract covering the 2022 through 2025 seasons.

Gray, who turned 30 years old on November 5, has spent his entire Major League career (2015-21) with the Colorado Rockies. He finished the 2021 campaign with an 8-12 record and 4.59 ERA over 29 starts, posting a 9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings figure that ranked 12th in the National League (min. 145 IP). His season included a pair of stints on the Injured List: June 5-24 (right forearm flexor strain) and Sept. 1-7 (right forearm tightness).

Since the start of 2016, Gray ranks among National League leaders in starts (9th, 142), strikeouts (11th, 809), innings (13th, 788.2), and wins (T13th, 53). The right-hander posted four straight seasons of 10-or-more wins from 2016-19, as he is one of 20 Major League pitchers to compile at least four 10+ win campaigns over the last 6 years.

According to Inside Edge, Gray has recorded 200 of his 329 strikeouts (61%) with his slider since the start of 2019, the fourth-highest mark in MLB over that span. His 2021 season was marked by the highest slider usage of his career (38.1%), as he limited opponents to a .156 batting average (37-237) when using the pitch last season.

Gray was the Rockies’ Opening Day starter in 2017 and 2018, and took the mound for the second-ever game at Globe Life Field on July 25, 2020 against the Rangers. He completes his Rockies tenure among the franchise’s all-time leaders in several categories including strikeouts (2nd, 849), starts (5th, 151), innings (6th, 829.1), and wins (T7th, 53). His .633 (31-18) career home win percentage is the third-best mark in franchise history (min. 40 starts).

An Oklahoma native, Gray finished his collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma before being selected by the Rockies in the first round (third overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft. He has produced a 53-49 record, 4.59 ERA, and 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings figure in 152 games/151 starts across seven Major League seasons with Colorado (2015-2021).

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