Did you read my post above? By all means sign a #2 starter for 7-8M per season for three years. One with upside and a proven record. I think this is a small list and probably wishful thinking. Sign me up for an Ortiz or Clement right now assuming I can get them for 3/24 type dollars.
I've argued only 6-8 true #1/#2 arms emerge in a given season. Maybe 45-50 true #1/#2'se exist in baseball with an average top tier run of 6-7 seasons (thus only 6-8 new guys can join the club in a given year) You HAVE to get one of these guys at almost all costs, especially if you are an organization with none currently and one with a decent young offensive core (read cheap) to build around.
But, your missing the fundamental disagreement -- You believe Paul Wilson or a PW clone can be had for the 500K-1M and thus PW is not worth the Reds signing him to a 2005 one year deal in the 3M range. I'm saying no way;
1) You simply aren't getting a Paul Wilson or a PW clone (#3 rotation production since 2003) for sub 1 Mil chump change. Your reaching for retreads for sub 1M and good luck -- you bought a lottery ticket or two and you better hope it works out. For every Loiaza I'll find you at least a half dozen Orcas, Van Popples and Hamiltons.
2) $2.5-3M for a proven #3 starter is a BARGAIN and a NECESSITY given the Reds gaping 60% rotation hole in 2005 -- and the 40% (Claussen and Harang) aren't exactly surefire locks. If you toss 2.5M fannies into the seats and you can't fund both $8M for a #2 and $3M for a #3 then you might as well just fold up shop -- Haynes/Graves/Lidle/Wilson/Larue gives you $17m to play with -- assuming you can find a taker for Graves contract (unlikely)
3) Successful teams like the Cards/Giants routinely supplement their rotation with 1-2 proven middle of the road starters. As a bonus they often can squeeze a #2 year out of some of these guys on the cheap (Carpenter, Suppan, Hermanson a few years back, etc.)
4) If said Paul Wilson is good enough to join the Phils/Mets/Giants 2004 rotation for the stretch run, he's darn good enough to anchor a middle of the rotation spot for the Reds in 2005 -- again at a 1 yr/3M deal range.
5) I think the market is going up in the offseason and will impact the #2 type guys and drive the middle of the rotation guys like Wilson higher. 12% higher attendance, better economy and more team parity = bigger contracts in the offing. Better pay to play...
6) We all want five high ceiling guys in the rotation. I'm saying you'll be lucky to have two next season (Claussen and soon to be Reds cap fitted #2 guy
). 3/5 if donkeys fly and the Reds trade for a high ceiling guy too. Better hope is that one of the youngsters emerges in late 2005/ST 2006 to become your third high ceiling guy. That leaves a lot of rotation spots to fill in the next 24 months.