The Atlanta Braves wouldn't disclose the exact numbers on the five-year contract agreed to by center fielder Dale Murphy yesterday, but Al Thornwell, the Braves' executive vice president, did give an estimate: "huge."
Murphy, the National League's most valuable player last season with 36 home runs and 109 RBI, will sign "probably by the end of the week," says his agent, Bruce Church. The Atlanta Journal reports Murphy, 26, will receive close to $8 million as his salary escalates from $1.1 million this season to $2 million in 1987. He was to become a free agent after the 1983 season.
The contract would be the Braves' richest and one of the richest in baseball.
"We arrived at the value of the contract by looking at all the precedents set in baseball," Church said, adding the "precedents" included contracts of players "at the top end of the game" such as Gary Carter, Mike Schmidt and Dave Winfield. Murphy was reported traveling and not available for comment . . .
No figures given, either, for Tony Perez, 40, joining what is rapidly becoming the Philadelphia Phillies' refuge for veterans by signing a one-year contract as a first baseman and pinch hitter.
Perez rejoins former Cincinnati teammates Pete Rose, 41, and Joe Morgan, 39, who are considered the regular first and second basemen. Perez was released after last season by the Boston Red Sox. Said Perez: "They told me they couldn't keep me and Carl Yastrzemski, and in a choice between me and him, I go. He's a legend there."