When the Twins began their July purge of veterans by sending Eduardo Escobar to Arizona, some fans -- and the team -- had hoped the popular switch-hitting infielder would return as a free agent this offseason. 

But Escobar never got to free agency. The Diamondbacks announced Monday they had re-signed the 29-year-old to a three-year, $21 million contract.

"I think the most important thing for me coming here was the people here," said Escobar, according to an Associated Press report. "There are great people here. Everybody took care of my family and that's the most important thing for me. I signed it because I like it here. I'm happy to be here and ready for next season."

Escobar was leading the majors with 37 doubles when the Twins traded him July 27 for three prospects. He finished hitting .272 between the teams, setting career highs in home runs (23), doubles (48), walks (52), runs (75), games (151), hits (154) and total bases (277).

Escobar played six years with the Twins, coming over in July 2012 from the White Sox in a trade for lefthander Francisco Liriano.

The Venezuelan received a $500,000 signing bonus and will earn $6 million in 2019, $7 million in 2020 and $7.5 million in 2021.

LA VELLE E. NEAL III