Heading into the 2011 season, expectations for the New York Mets on field play were very low. With the Bernie Madoff scandal and a pending lawsuit still hanging over the Wilpons' heads, most writers and fans thought the Mets would make more headlines off the field than on.
Following a sub par 2010 season, the Mets had replaced GM Omar Minaya with Sandy Alderson and manager Jerry Manuel with Terry Collins, but optimism was in short supply heading in to the start of the season.
Mets ace Johan Santana was going to be out of action for at least half of the season and the club was still stuck with the contracts of the unpopular and downright awful Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. However, management made it clear that players were going to be held accountable for their performances. When both Perez and Castillo were cut prior to the start of the season, despite the money owed to them, Mets fans at least knew that the new regime was serious.
While the Mets will not be making the playoffs this year, they have certainly exceeded what was expected of them. They look set to finish third in the NL East and have been right around the .500 mark all season long.
Additionally, they have had contributions from some unlikely heroes and have energized the fanbase with their enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude. In fact, this team that was expected to be terrible has been more exciting to watch than the 2008 and 2009 Mets teams that were supposed to be good and collapsed.
As we get close to the end of the season, here's a look at the Mets players worth keeping—and the ones who are not.