Full disclosure: I was not at Redsfest. But people with access and connections were (including our own Manager Emeritus and Twitter intern, Slyde, who was slinging copies of Wire to Wire Reds for a cool $15 spot).
Cincinnati inquirer John Fay has wrested some interesting nuggets of information from the brass, though none of it involves any imminent signings or trades:
John Fay chatted with Bob Castellini
The Reds seem to be a united front on trying to lock up both Votto and Bruce. The Bruce camp is very open to the idea, while Castellini is optimistic on Votto. Though the source is unclear (Bob or Walt?), Fay give us this:
The Reds payroll, I’m told, will be right at $80 million.
This gives us a pretty good idea about what the Reds are working with this offseason - though I'm not sure if this figure incorporates all major league salaries and pro-rated bonuses or base salaries for the 25-man roster - or what. Arroyo's extension freed up at least $1.5M, while potential extensions for Votto and/or Bruce could provide a little bit more flexibility by making their 2011 salaries less than what they would have gotten in a one-year deal or arbitration.
It's difficult to parse Votto's remarks about an extension
But I think the gist is that it's hard for anyone to know what they'll want to do tonight, let alone in five, six or, in Votto's words, "eleven-bijillion" years. I don't have any reason to think Votto's level of enthusiasm for staying in Cincinnati approaches that of Jay Bruce, but he's also showing himself to be a shrewd negotiator and a thoughtful person, who will consider the particulars of any deal on a case-by-case basis.
Kinda funny (Safe for Work. Probably TOO safe)