ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will begin defense of their American League pennant when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 22.

That's still seven weeks away, and remember, the Rangers made two big acquisitions last January when they signed third baseman Adrian Beltre and traded for catcher Mike Napoli. So there is plenty of time this offseason for the Rangers to make more moves and improve a team that won 96 games last year.

Right now, the Rangers still feel pretty good about their team, even though they lost C.J. Wilson. Both he and first baseman Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, two significant additions to a team that finished second behind the Rangers in the AL West the past two years.

But in the middle of college bowl season and the NFL playoffs getting underway, there are still plenty of questions about the Rangers. Let's see if we can get a few right.

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Last year, we said that the Rangers would not sign Wilson to a long-term deal and that Neftali Feliz would not move to the rotation. We also said Michael Young was a lock to stay at third base and that Colby Lewis would have a big season.

10. Does Joe Nathan still have anything left as a closer?

If he makes a full recovery from Tommy John elbow construction surgery, then why not? He turned 37 in November, but other top closers have been effective at an advanced age. Trevor Hoffman had 146 saves and a 2.68 ERA over three years just after turning 37. Mariano Rivera just turned 42 in November. Over the past five years, he has a 2.02 ERA and 190 saves. John Smoltz missed all of 2000 because of Tommy John surgery. From 2001-04, he had a 2.65 ERA and 154 saves.

9. Who will be the starting center fielder?

The Rangers keep saying they want Josh Hamilton to play left field to decrease wear and tear on his body, but David Murphy is the tean's third best outfielder, and Hamilton plays center when he is in the lineup. The club will probably give Julio Borbon, a left-handed hitter, another shot, but it may be time to give Craig Gentry, a right-handed hitter, a chance to play full time rather than being a platoon player. Leonys Martin has an outside shot of cracking the lineup, but he probably needs to be in Triple-A to begin the season. The Rangers may look to add at least one more candidate before the winter is over.

8. Will the Rangers be able to sign Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish now that they have the rights?

Yes. He fits everything the Rangers are about: their commitment to pitching, their commitment to finding talent in any venue and ownership's commitment toward providing maximum financial support toward winning. This may go down to the last day, but the organization will get something done with Darvish.

7. What can the Rangers expect from Neftali Feliz as a starter?

Everybody knows the Rangers have been successful in converting both Wilson and Alexi Ogando from relievers into starters over the past two seasons. Wilson was relatively advanced as a pitcher when he made the transition, while Ogando was quite raw. Feliz started in the Minors, so he should be ahead of the game.

How about Curt Schilling? At about the same age as Feliz, Schilling spent 1990-91 strictly as a reliever after starting in the Minors. At age 24, he went into the Phillies' rotation in '92 and was 14-11 with a 2.35 ERA over 226 innings. Best guess on Feliz is 13-15 wins and right around 180 innings. Then watch out.

6. Who is your sleeper in the Rangers' farm system?

Matt West. The converted infielder struck out 35 and walked one in 23 games over 26 innings at Class A Spokane. He can bring it at around 99 mph, his breaking stuff is getting better and he could come quickly through the system. Remember, Ogando was converted from the outfield because of his arm strength.

5. What career club record will Young break this coming season?

The big one is total bases, and it should fall quickly. Young needs 13 total bases to match the club record of 3,073 set by Juan Gonzalez. Young also needs two sacrifice flies to match the career club record of 66 set by Ruben Sierra. On the other side, Young is also five short of the club record for grounding into the most double plays, which is 194 set by Ivan Rodriguez.

4. What will happen at catcher?

Mike Napoli is now the No. 1 catcher and Yorvit Torrealba is considered the backup. They will probably split time as the Rangers are likely intent on getting Napoli some time at first base and designated hitter. But if Napoli stays healthy, he is going to start more at catcher than the 57 times he did in 2011, and Torrealba is not going to start 95 games.

3. What impact will Greg Maddux have on Rangers pitchers?

Maddux was a special assistant with the Cubs last season and will be employed in a similar manner with the Rangers. He will be an instructor in Spring Training and will make visits to the Minor League teams during the season. Cubs pitchers talk about having a "Maddux moment," meaning there was something that he said or taught them that seemed to register. He has a chance to have a significant impact both because of his credibility and knowledge. Nolan Ryan helped the Rangers pitchers, but as club president, he didn't have the time to devote to it as much as Maddux will even on a part-time basis.

2. Can the Rangers finish ahead of the Angels in the AL West?

The Rangers have in each of the past two seasons. The Angels are significantly improved with Wilson and Albert Pujols, but the Rangers are going to have a very good team again. At this point, they still have the better offense. We'll see how much the Rangers' pitching improves, but Darvish should help immensely. Health will always dictate much and there is still room for improvement for both clubs, especially around July 31.

1. Will the Rangers be able to recover from the World Series?

Bill Mazeroski broke the Yankees' hearts with a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. The Yankees responded by winning 111 games the next year and the Fall Classic. The Braves lost two straight World Series in 1991-92, but that was just the start. They went to three more before the decade was over. The Yankees lost their first two World Series in 1921-22. They ended up being the team of the century.

Maybe the Rangers will be the team of this century. They'll be fine come Spring Training. They may not go back to the World Series, but it won't because of heartache or letdown.