The contract was for $7.1 million with a $1.8 million team option for 1990. Nearly 40 percent of that option ($700,000) was deferred and put into an annuity with a 5.1 percent annual interest rate, according to ESPN.
When Strawberry and his ex-wife, Charisse, reached a divorce settlement in 2006, it forced Strawberry to give part of the deferred money to her. The payment was never made, and in 2010, Charisse asked for what was owed as part of her bankruptcy protection proceedings. A judge ruled the annuity belongs to the IRS, since Strawberry still owed tax debt from four different years.
On Jan. 20, the IRS will now auction off the right to collect the deferred part of the contract, which will have a value of about $1.28 million in 223 monthly installments. The winning bid cannot be less than $550,000 and must be approved by a judge before the winning bidder can start collecting.
"Seizure and sale is the last thing we at the IRS want to do," said Michael Devine, spokesman for the IRS' division of Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialists. "This happens when a person doesn't dispute that they owe the money but can't or won't liquidate the property."
Strawberry played for the Mets from 1983-1990. He retired from baseball after the 1999 season.
- Molly Geary