Jose Quintana didn't have to travel far when he was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Cubs.
However, he understands the expectations are worlds apart.
Entering Friday, the Cubs (43-45) trailed Milwaukee by 5 ½ games in the National League Central. The Cubs believe Quintana, an All-Star last season, can help get them back on track as they try to defend their World Series title, which ended 108 years of frustration last fall.
"I said one day I want to be here," said Quintana, who will make his Cubs debut Sunday against the Orioles at Camden Yards. "I'm so excited to be here with this team. Hopefully, I'll have a chance this year. I just want to help this team and do my job."
Quintana is also looking to put a difficult first half of the season behind him. He was 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 18 starts for the White Sox this year. In 2016, he won a career-high 13 games with a 3.20 ERA.
"I'm not surprised that they moved me, but I didn't know where I'd go," Quintana said. "I'm so happy I moved to the other side of the city and stayed in Chicago. I'm really happy. I think it was the best situation for me."
The Cubs traded their top two prospects, outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease, along with minor-league infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete, for Quintana, who is under contract through 2020.
"With him it's not just about this year. It's about down the road a little bit also," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "When you look at his body of work, where he's at, his age and what's also left on the contract, that's probably the guy you wanted to pick up this winter anyway. Now you get to do it now, and it gives you a chance to win in the second half and get back to the dance."