ESPNNew York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said closer Mariano Rivera informed him earlier this week that he is unsure if he will play again or retire. Cashman told ESPN New York that on Tuesday he and Rivera had a conversation in which Rivera said he does not know yet if he will return for a 19th season. ”He wasn’t certain on what he is going to do,” Cashman said.  During his end-of-season news conference Wednesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that Rivera may not return. ”From watching how he rehabbed and everything that he was going through, picked up a baseball sooner than he was supposed to and got his hand smacked a little bit, that would tell me that Mo probably wants to play,” Girardi said. “But in saying that, it’s a decision that I think he’ll sit down with his family, evaluate where he is maybe a little bit later in this process and how he feels and how his arm feels, to feel like you think you can compete at the same level he’s always competed at. But I don’t think that you push a rehab like he pushed it unless you think that you possibly have some interest in coming back.”

Anybody think Mariano’s perceived value took a hit this year? I was debating this with myself today. Part of me knows how incredibly valuable he was for the Yankees. I understand that probably better than most Yankee fans do. As someone who spent the last 15 years unsuccessfully rooting agains the Yankees, I watched him shut the door in so many close games it makes me wanna puke. But you take a look at the Yankees this year and they really didn’t miss a beat without him. Still won the division. Still advanced to the ALCS. And even if Mariano was healthy he probably would have never even pitched in the series. This season was kind of a perfect argument against the value of a big time closer.

Obviously he’s still the best at what he does, its just a matter of deciding how much you really value “what he does.” Bottom line is whatever Mariano decides probably doesn’t change the Yankees future all that much.