Murphy went into the 2011 season hoping to compete for a starting job, but ended up struggling through his worst season as a major league, posting a .275/.328/.401 that was heavily weighed down by an ice-cold start to the season. His 729 OPS was the worst of his career, by 56 points.
Murphy will go into the 2012 season expected to be the team's fourth outfielder, a critical role because of the injuries which have plagued starting corner outfielders Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton the past couple of years. In addition, if Hamilton ends up logging significant time in center field, Murphy could end up as the de facto starter in left field.
Murphy is arbitration-eligible again after the 2012 season, and then is eligible for free agency after 2013.