A few odds and ends from the Windy City as Thursday winds down …
- White Sox GM Ken Williams said today that the South Siders' 2012 payroll would be "a little bit less" than 2011's $127MM figure, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Williams also added that he has had dialogue with free agent starter Mark Buehrle but didn't offer much in regards to whether the lefty might re-sign with the only team for which he's pitched: "All we can do is wait until we get to the winter meetings and then have a better idea of where we sit and where he sits and see if there’s a match,” Williams said.
- Cubs president Theo Epstein said the North Siders are in the "sixth inning" of their search for a new manager, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. So far, Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum and Mike Maddux have interviewed for the position, and Sandy Alomar Jr. is slated to interview on Friday.
- Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona badly wants to manage the Cubs, a source very close to Francona tells Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. Epstein has said that Francona probably wouldn't have to go through a formal interview if the Cubs wanted to award him the job, but right now it is unknown whether Francona is being seriously considered for the position.