Shortly after Monday's 8-2 win over the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals, Brian McTaggart tweeted out that the Astros will be activating designated hitter Evan Gattis. Prior to Monday's game, McTaggart also reported that Gattis had sent skipper A.J. Hinch a text message with a simple message: "Ready".
To make room for the once-bearded slugger on the 25-man roster, the Astros have optioned Matt Duffy, who had gone hitless in three at-bats in Gattis' absence. Duffy, last season's Pacific Coast League MVP, will likely benefit from more regular at-bats in the minors while the addition of Gattis to the Astros' lineup will bring even more thump in the middle of the order.
In his first season with Houston, Gattis appeared in 153 games, batting .246 with a .285 on-base percentage. He paired those numbers with a team-high 11 triples, 27 home runs and 88 runs batted in. How Gattis fits into this year's lineup will be interesting to see. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa have the first three spots in the lineup locked up, but behind Correa things could get interesting.
Tyler White would be an interesting option in the cleanup spot. While he doesn't exhibit the power that a traditional four-hitter displays, his hot streak is undeniable at this point. While he's hot, he could certainly keep driving in the top of the order, leaving Gattis and Colby Rasmus in the fifth and sixth spots and move Carlos Gomez to the seventh spot, which is a nice proposition given the potential threat that he is. Hinch will likely break up the power-first options in the lineup, slotting White in between them, but the former is a nice option as well.
With Gattis healthy, this could be the time that Houston uses his production to showcase him for the July trade deadline. With top prospect/first baseman A.J. Reed likely to come up at some point this year and stay in Houston once he arrives, there simply won't be enough playing time for him, Gattis and White, let alone a surging Preston Tucker, in the Astros lineup on a consistent basis. Someone is going to be on the move, and Gattis' bat will likely bring the most in return and save the club the most cash in the process.