ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Darryl Strawberry signed a multi-year contract with the New York Mets Tuesday for a guaranteed $5.4 million, with the potential of earning the outfielder more than $7 million over the next six years, according to a club official.

Mets Vice President Al Harazin said that because one third of the money Strawberry signed for will be deferred, he will, upon retirement, receive $500,000 annually for the remainder of his life.

Strawberry, who celebrated his 23rd birthday Tuesday, reportedly signed a five-year contract that guarantees him $5.3 million, plus a $100,000 up-front signing bonus, over the next five years with an option year that could bring him another $1.8 million.

''It's more fun for me than it was last year,'' Strawberry said after signing the contract. ''I'm here this year just to go out and have fun.''

In addition, Harazin said, there are bonuses that will be paid if Strawberry wins the Most Valuable Player award ($100,000) or is the MVP in the playoffs or World Series ($100,000). For winning the National League playoff MVP Strawberry would pick up $50,000.

The contract runs through 1989 and reaches $1.4 million in the final year. If the Mets pick up the option in the final year, for $1.8 million, the contract, excluding bonuses, would be worth $7.2 million for six years.

Strawberry, the first pick in the 1980 draft, is in his third major-league season. He made $220,000 last season when he led the Mets with 26 home runs and 97 RBI while batting .251.

In 1983 he was named the National League's Rookie of the Year after hitting 26 homers with 74 RBI and a .257 average.