Ex-Yankee Chris Gittens joins Masahiro Tanaka’s Rakuten Eagles

Yankees fans should have a favorite Nippon Professional Baseball team to root for.

Chris Gittens, the slugger who crushed Triple-A pitching but struggled in a short stint in The Bronx last season, signed a one-year contract this week with Masahiro Tanaka’s Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese professional league.

The two never played together in the majors, but they were part of the same Yankees organization and overlapped in spring trainings until Tanaka returned to Japan after the 2020 season.

Upon Gittens sharing the team’s announcement, Tanaka wrote on Twitter that he “can’t wait!”

The Yankees let Gittens go in late November ahead of the nontender deadline as they cleared space on their 40-man roster.

Former Yankee Chris Gittens signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, where Masahiro Tanaka plays.
Bill Kostroun

The 27-year-old was a star for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he slashed .301/.440/.644 with 14 home runs in 45 games last season. But the first baseman struggled in his majors debut, going 4-for-36 with a homer in 16 games.