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Souhan: Going to Snell would have been great, gutsy move by Twins.

For all of the games played and drills executed, all that really matters in a big league spring training is health and acquisitions.

Because the Twins no longer have the former, they should have explored the latter.

On Monday, the team revealed that newly acquired starter Anthony DeSclafani and relievers Jhoan Duran and Caleb Thielbar will begin the season on the injury list. DeSclafani might be headed for surgery and lost for the season.

Duran and Thielbar should be able to contribute heavily this season, but their absence will stress what had previously looked like a remarkably deep bullpen.

DeSclafani was hoped to be a serviceable fifth starter. With him unavailable, Louie Varland will likely get his wish to become a starter on the Opening Day roster.

The Twins' sudden need for pitching dovetailed with an important development on the free agent market.

Blake Snell, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, is represented by superagent Scott Boras, who also represents Twins star shortstop Carlos Correa. This weekend, Boras let it be known that Snell, unable to land a long-term megadeal, would be willing to sign a two-year deal in the $60 million range, with an opt-out after the 2024 season.

On Monday night, Snell agreed to a two-year deal worth $62 million with the San Francisco Giants.

The Twins should have outbid the Giants for Snell, who offered a rare chance to sign an established ace for a limited number of years.

Those disappointed in the Twins' passivity are likely suggesting that they turn their attention to the other premier starter on the free agent market, Jordan Montgomery.

But if the Twins weren't willing to outbid the Giants for Snell on a short-term deal, they aren't going to offer Montgomery the lucrative long-term deal he wants.

Now it's up to Varland to make the Twins never regret missing out on Snell.

Varland was a mediocre starter and a dominant reliever in 2023, and he expressed a desire to be a starter last year and this offseason.

Even if Varland pitches well as a starter, the Twins would have been stronger with Snell in the rotation and Varland as a late-game reliever.

What was intriguing about Snell's recent change of strategy is that it mirrored the approach taken by Boras and Correa. Before the 2022 season, Correa didn't find the market to his liking and settled on a three-year deal with opt-outs available to him after each of the first two seasons.

The Twins have avoided spending money in free agency this winter because of the loss of revenue from their television deal.

They've also been willing, in recent years, to spend money when it makes sense, regardless of their preordained budget.

This would have been a good time to bust the preordained budget.

Given reasonable health, the Twins should have a phenomenal lineup and bullpen this season. Snell would have given them a chance at having a phenomenal rotation, as well. He's won two Cy Youngs, with his first coming in 2018 (21-5, 1.89 ERA) with Tampa Bay. He's 31 and coming off a 180-inning, 32-start season in San Diego.

If your goal is to win the American League Central, Snell wasn't a necessity. If your goal is to win the World Series, Snell might have been invaluable.

As of this weekend, the Twins' prospective rotation included Pablo López, Bailey Ober, Chris Paddack, Joe Ryan and DeSclafani.

If they had added Snell, their rotation would have included two true aces at the top, in López and Snell, and three pitchers who could be considered upper-or-middle-of-the-rotation starters, in Ober, Paddack and Ryan, with Paddack possessing the stuff of an ace.

Following a season in which the Twins were exceptional in the second half, won a playoff series and looked competitive against the defending champion Astros, this was the time to spend the extra money and take a shot at greater postseason success.

You could have told Boras that he could be in the championship parade, standing between his clients, Correa and Snell.

. . .

Note about this column: An earlier version of this column was published online Monday afternoon. Blake Snell reportedly signed with San Francisco late Monday night. Jim updated his column to reflect the news.