bikemike, I certainly respect your view, but the “Hicks starting” train left the station over a year ago and isn’t likely to return. Seems to me that if he is failing in his current role or is redundant with others, then it would offer some basis for discussion about making him a starter again. At this time, neither is the case, though. Instead, it is pining about “what ifs” that can likely never be proven or refuted.
As far as Hicks being a fastball thrower, I offer his slider. Two devastating pitches are why he is closing, not one.
In terms of becoming more effective, here are the areas in which Hicks has improved this year vs. last. It is significant across the board progress:
Hit rate down
Walk rate down
Strikeout rate up
Save conversion rate up
Again, of all the problems this team has, I don’t have Hicks anywhere near the top. (In fact, I see him as one of the season’s success stories to date.)
P.S. Having said that, I enjoy this discussion 100x more than the quest to define “gutless”.