Take 5 | Steelers need to trade up in draft, Angels will win the American League


AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, left, and center fielder Mike Trout (27) high-five after a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a spring training baseball game in Anaheim, California, Sunday, April 3, 2022.

By The Pitt News Staff

In this week’s edition of the Take 5, the Pitt News Sports Desk takes a look at the Steelers’ quarterback situation, the Pirates’ culture and more.

Steelers have to move up to get their quarterback of the future  // Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement leaves a hole to fill for the Steelers. Coming off of two consecutive playoff berths, the Steelers need to replace Roethlisberger if they want to make a run for the Super Bowl.

The Steelers signed former Bears and Bills quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to add depth to the quarterback room. But how much of a difference will Trubisky make? Trubisky was a backup in Buffalo last season and had a rollercoaster run in Chicago after the Bears selected him No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft.

The Steelers currently have the No. 20 pick in the 2022 draft, where they could look to address the quarterback position. But they will most likely need to move up to get the quarterback they want. The Steelers have been tied to Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, but both may be drafted before the Steelers get on the clock.

Mock drafts have the Panthers selecting Pickett No. 6 overall to the Carolina Panthers, which leaves the Steelers with Willis. But the chances that Willis falls all the way to No. 20 is low. The Steelers will almost certainly have to move up to get their quarterback of the future.

Pirates’ “player-centric” atmosphere is a facade // Frankie Richetti, Senior Staff Writer

Earlier this week, the Pirates announced that infielder Diego Castillo made the big league club. Castillo has been raking at the plate this spring, tallying six homers to go along with a 1.281 OPS. While it’s nice to see Pittsburgh award his performance, it’s mind-boggling that shortstop O’Neil Cruz isn’t accompanying Castillo.

Cruz posted a 1.066 OPS and did more than enough to prove he’s big-league ready, despite having just 15 plate appearances. While Cruz is in the minor leagues, other top prospects such as Bobby Whit Jr, Spencer Torkelson and Julio Rodriguez all made their respective clubs out of spring training — making the Pirates decision look all the more woeful.

Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington’s decision is contradictory to what he preached upon his hiring two years ago.

“We are going to build a baseball operations culture that is player-centric,” Cherington said.

If the Pirates’ culture truly revolved around rewarding its players, then Cruz would be joining Castillo in St. Louis for Opening Day. While it will be fun for Pirates fans to watch Castillo, this feels like a gut punch that one of the organization’s best players will be in the minor leagues instead of showcasing their talent at the highest level.

It’s clear that the Pirates’ culture isn’t what they say it is — and that must change.

Woods vying for unparalleled victory at Augusta // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer 

Hyperbole is commonplace in today’s world, especially when it comes to sports. The term “G.O.A.T.” gets thrown around every two seconds to the point that it has lost all meaning.

But if Tiger Woods can win the Masters this weekend for the sixth time, it will be the most stunning individual accomplishment in the history of modern-day athletics.

Woods’ 2019 victory at Augusta was unbelievable in its own right. The all-time great’s 14-year journey between his fourth and fifth green jackets was nothing short of astonishing.

But a victory this year would be in a league of its own.

Woods was involved in a serious single-car accident that nearly killed him, just more than a year ago. While he survived the crash, Woods underwent extensive surgery to repair his lower body after suffering a slew of serious injuries. Many didn’t think Woods would ever play golf again.

Woods is drawing thousands of fans to Augusta National once again, just 14 months later.

Additionally, a victory for Woods would put him into a tie with the great Jack Nicklaus for the most Masters victories of all time.

Put it all together, and you’re left with the greatest individual achievement in the history of mainstream sports.

The Angels have to break through this season // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Angels employ the two best players in baseball right now — outfielder Mike Trout and utility player Shohei Ohtani. Along with Trout and Ohtani, the Angels also have pieces like infielder Anthony Rendon, young outfielder Jo Adell and pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Despite this, the Angels haven’t made it to the MLB Postseason since 2014, and they haven’t won a playoff series since 2009. Trout is coming off an injury-shortened 2021, and Rendon slumped to a .240 batting average in his second season in Anaheim. Syndergaard is also coming off a lengthy arm injury that truncated his time with the Mets, though his most recent start in September 2021 showed promise.

Ohtani is projected to be as great as he was last season, and Adell will continue to develop throughout the 2022 campaign. But the Angels’ playoff hopes balance on the health and success of their big names. If Trout, Syndergaard and Rendon can all maintain healthy, productive seasons, then they have a shot at making the playoffs.

This is an important year for the Halos. Should they not make the postseason for the eighth consecutive year, the franchise will have to make big changes.

The Los Angeles Angels will win the American League // Brian Sherry, Staff Writer

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani took the MLB by storm last season, winning the AL MVP in unanimous fashion. But Ohtani is not the only Angels player on the roster to win the award in recent years. Center fielder Mike Trout took home the award three times before Ohtani. Trout, who missed most of the season last year, will likely make his return to the diamond on opening night.

With two dominant MVPs on their team, the rest of the American League will have trouble keeping up with the Angels.

The Angels struggled due to their lack of pitching and injuries last season. Both of those problems seem to have been answered this season. The Angels signed Pitcher Noah Syndergaard this off-season, filling a major hole in their pitching rotation. Trout’s return will likewise lead to big results for the Angels, who will finish with over 90 wins this season.