First things first, this isn't so much a reactionary post to Roy Halladay's rather alarming start this afternoon but it helped inspire me to put the thought to paper. I don't get worked up over spring starts but I do tend to get worked up over the lack of insurance in the Phillies starting rotation. After Hamels and Lee, we're left with question marks. I don't necessarily count Halladay is a question mark but I don't call him a sure thing. While Kendrick and Lannan aren't bad, they aren't exactly what the situation calls for in post-Worley Phillies. Do the Phillies really want to be leaning on Aaron Cook, Rodrigo Lopez, or Tyler Cloyd if a pitcher goes down?
Kyle Lohse is a name I argued against early in the winter. I don't mind the guy. I think he's a durable and capable arm and I think it's a shame he hasn't been signed yet. He got Cy Young votes last season and was an Opening Day starter. Sabermetrics will suggest he was lucky and I can't say I dispute any of that (his FIP has him at 3.51 as opposed to his 2.86 ERA last season). Though even if you factor that in, that's not exactly criminal for someone who is a mid-rotation starter.
There's other issues as well. Scott Boras being one of them. The other being that signing him not only comes at a hefty price, it also involved surrendering the first round draft pick to the Cardinals. That sticky last part is what prevented them from going after Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn in the off season. I can't imagine they change that line of thinking unless they have to. After all, they're picking at 12 in this year's draft which is the highest they've picked lately.
I don't take it lightly either. I understand the importance of protecting a farm system that's been gutted over the years while the Phillies chase glory. If you asked me a month ago, I'd have argued until I was blue in the face about that. However, maybe protecting the season ahead should outrank protecting the future. I'll confess, it's not an easy thing to figure out. I would have sooner parted with the first rounder for Swisher than Lohse myself.
The situation just seems kind of dire today. The caution flag is up wth Halladay and that's just being realistic. But even if it wasn't, I'm not sure backing it up with the depth currently in place is the wisest idea. Cook, Lopez, Cloyd, and even Pettibone are probably capable as emergency stop gaps but if someone is down for a significant amount of time, it's a bad idea to roll with any of them long term in a season where the team is trying to come back.
Sign Lohse. Worst case, it saves a great rotation. Best case, a great rotation becomes better. Either way, I think the Phillies will sleep better.