I see what you mean lgj. The guaranteed money doesn't bother me though because I believe Wilson has top-of-the-rotation stuff if the Reds know how to cultivate it. It's also possible that the market will open up next year. If Wilson has a so-so year, the Reds may be able to trade him next year (a la todd walker). If he has a great year they'll keep him. If he stinks, you're right that they're on the hook for $3.5 mil. But frankly, I'm more worried about other guaranteed players not pulling their weight than I am Wilson (e.g. Haynes, Dempster, Sullivan).
There's risk in any guaranteed contract, but I think you and most of the other critics on this thread are underestimating the malaise in Tampa's Hal McRae regime. It was just an impossible place for pitchers to succeed last year. I swear, sometimes the guy would pout and leave his guys in to take a beating. The upside outweighs the risk IMO.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids