Why did the White Sox give John Danks that weird bonus?

A couple days ago, Scott Merkin tweeted a strange feature of John Danks' five-year, $65 million contract:

Merkin followed by saying Danks is still an $8 million man on the payroll, so there's no real difference overall. But still, I can't recall ever seeing a signing bonus used in this way. Usually a bonus will be given up front to lessen the salary on the back end of the contract, but this bonus only shifts the money around over the course of one year, and rather drastically.

Thinking it through, there seem to be two conclusions.

The mystery one: In the event the 2012 White Sox are still over their budget, the delay allows Kenny Williams to extend the trade market to the deadline without any financial cost.

The sensible one: As Larry pointed out, the Los Angeles Dodgers' bankruptcy filing showed the White Sox were the fifth-largest unsecured creditor at $3.5 million. That's the same amount as the Dodgers were supposed to pay towards Juan Pierre's 2011 salary. The Dodgers are in the process of being sold -- Jan. 23 is the deadline for initial bids -- so maybe Jerry Reinsdorf is using the Danks contract as a way to balance the books for the first half of the year, expecting the Pierre payment to come in sometime during the second half.

I'm rooting for the mystery box, myself.

And speaking of mystery, Baseball America posted its Top 10 White Sox prospects list, as selected by Phil Rogers.

1. Addison Reed, rhp
2. Nestor Molina, rhp
3. Simon Castro, rhp
4. Trayce Thompson, of
5. Jake Petricka, rhp
6. Keenyn Walker, of
7. Jhan Marinez, rhp
8. Tyler Saladino, ss
9. Juan Silverio, 3b
10. Ozzie Martinez, ss

Unfortunately, the accompanying chat to discuss this list was delayed until next Tuesday, so we can't find out how he came to some of the interesting names in the second half of the list. Further bulletins as events warrant!

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