Along with the familiar scenario comes the organization's accompanying mantra, that the team will try to be opportunistic.
"I think last year was really an ideal sort of Trade Deadline sort of thing," said Sternberg, who referenced last year's David Price trade that involved three teams. "We didn't do what we had to do, but we did something that we felt made the team better in the future and didn't really weaken us at the Deadline."
The Rays have spent time in first place during the first half before recently falling back to .500. The pitching has been great while the offense has struggled. Sternberg was asked if identifying a need is one of the problems of pulling the trigger on a deal.
"Well, it is," Sternberg said. "Right now, even though we might not be performing as we'd like to be or others would like us to be, I can't point to anything so glaring, or any of our players so glaring that we could or would replace them.
" ... clearly, you can find an All-Star or a Hall of Famer at various positions, but the cost is too prohibitive as far as players and money to get them. Nobody's trading those guys. And to do anything that's a significant upgrade is kind of difficult because there are a lot of teams that are looking for players who are significant upgrades."
Sternberg pointed out that the Rays have "done really good things in the past at the trading Deadline" and "things that have made our team better, short-term and or long-term."
"We made a decision a few years ago not to do anything and stick with what we had the year we caught the Red Sox and Evan [Longoria] hit the home run [in Game 162]," Sternberg said. "Memorable time, and that was a most difficult decision, because we decided to stick things out with the team that we had at the time. We had faith in them. And I know we have a lot of faith in this team now."
Sternberg did allow that the Rays feel like they have a "robust farm system" and that trading prospects is not out of the question. He noted that they "have and would" trade prospects "if a piece fit."
He doesn't know where they will be July 31.
"But we do believe strong that the organization that we have and the roster we have in place are good enough to get us to where we need to get to."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.