This is a very weird time. The World Series is still being played, and as usual, I am looking ahead to the next season. And, in what has become “the new normal,” I’m doing it with optimism.

Baseball America just released its list of Top 10 Orioles prospects. And I do not care. I don’t need to busy myself with looking at the guys down on the farm that might come provide some relief. I don’t have to pin my hopes on a 19-year old arm, or a guy in AA that we all know is not a true prospect. There’s no lying to myself in order to avoid despair.

I like this new normal.

Instead, I’m wondering what the Orioles are going to do with the question marks on their roster. The Orioles’ roster needs will be addressed in this space in great detail as the offseason continues. What I want to focus on is the Nick Markakis situation.

There is mutual interest in Markakis returning. The Orioles don’t want to overpay, and there are limits to the hometown discount Markakis will take. We don’t know how fruitful negotiations have been to this point. But one thing I am confident in is this: the Orioles’ recent track record leads me to believe they won’t blow it.

Yup. I said it, and the weird thing is that I’m not just saying it to convince myself that it’s true. This is the new normal.

I like this new normal.

The Orioles have already brought back another fan favorite, shortstop J.J. Hardy, on a deal that seems fair, and fills a need with a solid player. I approved of the Hardy move. I hope I still approve three years from now.

It’s very possible that the Orioles bring Markakis back. I hope that’s the case (though, mostly for baseball feels reasons rather than analytical ones). If not, there is every reason to believe they will find another solution that will soften the blow. After three consecutive years of shrewd front office maneuvering, they’ve earned my benefit of the doubt.

Dan Duquette is a master at finding fringe players to play contributing roles, and Buck Showalter excels at fitting those guys in when it counts the most. Nate McLouth, Steve Pearce, Miguel Gonzalez… since the tandem took over in 2012, the Orioles roster has been littered with guys who over-performed their expectations in this regard.

Duquette has also been given the leverage to make big signings. Sometimes, he looks like a genius (Nelson Cruz). Sometimes, he looks like he’s paying Ubaldo Jimenez $50MM to hide on the roster. The point is that his mistakes haven’t killed him. He’s been able to survive a bad signing by building a solid foundation and getting guys from whom Showalter can squeeze every ounce of talent.

I hope I see #21 patrolling right field for the Orioles in 2015. If not (you’ll have to excuse me for a little Orioles optimism), the Orioles will bring in someone who can get the job done, and help this team another push for the playoffs.

I like this like normal.