I guess I don't see the logic of not starting Hicks. Learn on the job and as long as he has matured, he should be in CF until Buxton comes. Then Hicks can move A corner spots. I like Presley as a 4th OF. It's time for Mastro and Ramirez to go, so keep Hammer, Hicks, Arcia, Presley and Parmalee.
I think same thing goes for Pinto, why not get some experience and see if he is the future, and if not, we have some other options working up the system
In education you don't just drop a student into a situation they aren't ready for and say "sink or swim". When you're teaching mathematics you don't take a kid that can't add and try to teach them multiplication. All learning is a step by step process and you need to have a grasp on step X before you can move onto Step Y.
It's pretty clear after last season that Hicks hasn't mastered the fundamentals needed to succeed at the MLB level. He has missed a step or three along the way and needs to relearn some things.
Why not let him learn in the majors? Failing for a short amount of time can be a good thing. It can force a student to refocus or accept that the previous fundamentals were important to learn.
After they fail however they have to have time to go back and relearn those fundamentals in a lower pressure environment. If a student fails at multiplication because they can't add, hammering them over and over that they're a failure because they can't multiply does no good. In fact it can cause long term damage. It leads to resentment and a loss of confidence which in turn leads to feeling worthless at a given task. When that happens you've now removed any desire a student once had for learning the task. They dread the task now.
Another reason for sending him back to AAA is that while the major league staff might be the best at teaching the advanced concepts that pitchers need to understand to be successful that does not mean they are the best at teaching the previous steps that lead up to the advanced stuff. The whole point of the AAA staff is to teach those concepts. Another benefit is that Hicks will be surrounded by guys learning the same concepts and he can talk with them about it.
Recap: We know Hicks has failed in the majors and needs to learn some of the fundamentals he's missing. By going back to AAA he is in a lower pressure environment more conducive to learning, surrounded by others learning those same concepts and with a staff that is dedicated to teaching those specific concepts. Once he is starting to master those missing fundamentals he will also be at a level that is easier for him to be successful leading to more confidence which in turn reinforces the fundamentals. At that point he is ready for a second attempt at MLB.