However, the Rays are playing better lately, giving the impression that their 2014 season still has a pulse. At the very least, Sternberg made it sound like waiting until July 31 to make any drastic moves would be the prudent move.
"My M.O., and this, if nothing else, filters down through the organization, and everybody knows it about us just by our actions, I'll wait as long as I need to make a decision," Sternberg said. "If it will give us a clearer picture on what's ahead of us."
Sternberg brought up the 2011 season, when speculation suggested the Rays would be sellers at the Trade Deadline and they were not.
"People had a full expectation for the month of July that we were going to do some relatively dramatic things at the end of the month with some players, both for money purposes and what not, and none of that happened," Sternberg said. "We made some decisions then.
"A lot will depend on how the team is playing, what's happening around us. What other teams are looking to do to improve or even something we can do to improve. We could go the other way in a couple of weeks and say, 'What are we missing?'"
While Sternberg didn't sound like a seller on Tuesday, he did not sound at a loss for understanding the importance of any decision the Rays make at this point.
"Part of the opportunity we have for success is David's performance," Sternberg said. "He's been doing a great job and getting things done. I think most importantly we all look back to the semi-miracle of what happened in 2011, and time can be made up. But you have to have confidence in your team.
"And I think the players are clearly focused on one game at a time. We really are taking it a day and a week at a time to see where we stand. Obviously we'd have some decisions to make at some point in time, potentially. Make decisions not to do something, make decisions to do something. I want to emphasize when you don't do something, that's a decision in itself. So we're always evaluating and making decisions."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.