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Evan Gattis trade: Astros' latest trade signals team is done with waiting on future

One thing is clear. The Astros want to be good in 2015.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

What a strange world we live in.

The Astros maybe, probably, most likely completed a trade this afternoon for Braves slugger Evan Gattis. In return, they gave up prospects Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman.

It's the second time they've traded prospects for major leaguers this winter. Both times, it was for a catcher, but let's ignore that for now.

This time, the Astros send a whole lot of years of control to the Braves for a pitcher who may end up as a reliever, for a third baseman who was behind Colin Moran on the organizational depth chart and a second pitcher with a flat fastball.

That's an understatement on some of their skills, but what Houston really sent Atlanta in this deal is hope.

They sent them lottery tickets. They sent them the future, trading promise of better player for the expectation of big league production this year.

Evan Gattis will not be a game-changing force in the Astros lineup. He's a career .253/.304/.487 hitter with a 22 percent strikeout rate. In that way, he's exactly like the Astros lineup now.

The thought, though, is that in more playing time, Gattis could hit 30 home runs. The former catcher was already slated to move out from behind the plate this season. If he can keep up his production in 600 plate appearances, he'll clear 30 homers easily.

As a reference, only two Astros hit 20 or more home runs last season (Chris Carter and George Springer). Gattis immediately makes the Astros better.

What a change that has been from that awful stretch from 2010-2013. The Astros were not competitive in those years. They rarely fielded major league players with a chance to stick long-term. They were all hope, all promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Now, the Astros don't have to hope. If he gets to 30 homers and Springer plays a full season, the Astros could have three 30-home run hitters next season. The last team in all of MLB to feature three 30-homer guys? The Angels of 2012. Since 2008, only three teams in all of baseball have equaled or bettered the mark.

The Astros just got better.

Maybe Mike Foltynewicz taps into his enormous potential, finds another breaking ball and becomes a top-flight starter. Look at what happened with Jake Arrieta. Look at the career Edwin Jackson had. Big arms will always hang around and can occasionally be brilliant.

But, with this move, the Astros seem to be signalling that they're done waiting.

They don't want to wait on Carlos Correa to save this team. They want to make Correa earn his spot. They want Colin Moran to force his way into the lineup, for Preston Tucker to make the Astros play him over Jake Marisnick.

Where does Gattis play? Well, he may just start at first base.

That's the part which epitomzies this deal for the Astros. Evan Gattis may play over Jon Singleton.

Singleton represents all that future brightness. He's a great talent who struggled mightily last season. He should rebound and may be the second coming of Anthony Rizzo.

The Astros may not be willing to wait. They need Singleton to prove himself and if he doesn't, he won't have a job.

These are weird times in Houston. Fans are not used to this, but it's a good feeling.