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AP: ba10b1a0-997a-4608-8460-f7dbd8318bbb
Arizona Diamondbacks' Martin Prado (14) drives in a run with a single against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
According to ESPN, the Arizona Diamondbacks' future isn't as bright as it once was.

One year ago, in their "Future Power Rankings" piece, the D-backs came in 8th.

They said:

"It's funny what a difference a year makes. If we did these rankings a year ago, the D-backs probably would have been in the bottom third. But then Justin Upton became a superstar, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson developed into high-end starters and the club added two top-10 draft picks, one of whom (Trevor Bauer) is ready to contribute this season."

Indeed, it is funny what a difference a year makes.

Because now, one year later, the Diamondbacks no longer have Upton or Bauer, whereas Kennedy had a down year and Hudson needed Tommy John surgery.

It's all reflected in the newest rankings, in which the D-backs come in at 15th.

The Overview
GM Kevin Towers has gone out of his way to acquire guys who play the way manager Kirk Gibson played, and has surrendered a lot of high-end talent (Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer) in the process. This is a solid club from top to bottom, but it's rare for a team bereft of superstars to make a deep playoff run, which is what Arizona is trying to do. -- Buster Olney

That pretty much sums up the D-backs, who have the look of a competitive team but not necessarily one that is destined for a championship. However, the pitching staff is solid and the lineup does feature some quality bats, so it's not as if the team is bereft of talent.

Even if it lacks star power.

The Dilemma
Whether Arizona believes it or not, World Series are won by teams with superstars. Last year it was the Giants with Matt Cain and Buster Posey, the year before that it was the Cardinals with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. For the Diamondbacks to win a championship they are going to need a middle-of-the-order impact star player who can carry the team during offensive slumps. The D-backs don't consider it a dilemma, but the win-loss record might say differently over the next few years. -- Jim Bowden

Well that's not very nice. But again, there's no arguing the fact that the D-backs traded away two of their biggest names, even if neither of them (Upton or Bauer) had produced at a star-like level last season. But national media like big names, and the team parted with two of them in deals many think they lost.

The System
Dealing Bauer for 50 cents on the dollar didn't help, nor did failing to get any of Atlanta's top six prospects in the Upton trade, but the Diamondbacks are still very deep in arms and now oddly deep in shortstops who can field but don't get on base. -- Keith Law

Well there is that.

Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com

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