Exactly, that's how it feels. Sure, it is within the rule, but it is pretty far-fetched to resort to this rule here to begin with.
If you look at the other cases mentioned by Smucav where this rule was applied, there really was an emergency situation. The Asian tournaments used to be a disaster a couple of years ago, half of the field was withdrawing in last minute. No comparison with Rotterdam this year, it sucks for Krajicek that Tsonga pulled out, but the tournament will be fine.
And in Asia they had a real replacement for the withdrawing player then, like Gasquet for Blake, Ferrer, Ljubicic (top 10 or maybe even top 5 back then) for Nadal in Beijing once... In this case it doesn't feel like Llodra is taking the place of Tsonga, they don't belong in the same league at all. It feels like Llodra was preferred over Petzschner.
For sure Llodra is preferred over Petzschner, and for good reason. Petzschner is a complete nobody to the majority of visitors. Llodra won't be a big name either, but, having won the tournament, he is known. I don't like the rule being applied, but I do understand.