Normally when the Indians make a trade, you don't hear about it until the last moment, with sometimes the first mention of a trade happening coming when the team makes the official announcement. Two years ago nobody even thought the Indians would be trading for Ubaldo Jimenez until the Indians and Rockies were close to getting a deal done. Part of that has to do with how the organization handles their sources, and part of it has to do with the media environment in Cleveland. There's only a few papers in the region, and there isn't the pressure to break a story that there is in larger, more competitive markets. For example, when the Indians and Red Sox made the Coco Crisp-Andy Marte trade in 2006, most of the leaks were from the Boston side.
So there isn't a lot of concrete things to go by as we head into the last few days of July. The Indians almost certainly are talking to other clubs about relievers, particularly, left-handed relievers, and have probably talked to teams about starting pitching, but in the last week there have been few direct links to players. I don't think there's a need for the Indians to get a deal done, as they aren't really positioned to go all-out for a title like, for instance, the Rangers or the Tigers. They also don't have the quantity of prospects that other teams (like the Red Sox) have to deal, although they are certainly better situated now than this time last year.The main issue is whether the other team would have an organizational need for the few prospects that they would make available. The Royals, for instance, are deep in middle infielders, so they may not be interested in Ronny Rodriguez if the two teams talked about a deal for Ervin Santana.
More importantly, the teams that seem the most willing to deal are in the AL Central. Had the White Sox been in the AL West, for instance, I wouldn't doubt that you'd be hearing a lot more about the Indians in connection to Jake Peavy, but because the two clubs are in the same division, it's going to be very difficult to get a deal done. The Royals, who are teetering on the edge of contention, may deal Ervin Santana before the deadline, but the same intra-divisional hurdles apply there as well.
And if the last couple weeks have convinced the Indians that they should look at bats instead of arms, well, there just aren't that many available. Mark Reynolds has been abysmal at the plate since the middle of May, but there aren't many impact bats on the market. Alex Rios seems to be the top one out there, but again, the Indians would have to trade with a divisional rival to get a deal done. Michael Young is probably available, and could be a marginal upgrade if Terry Francona manages playing time correctly between he and Lonnie Chisenhall.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's looking more and more likely that the Indians will either make just a minor deal or two or sit the deadline out entirely. Their one gaping hole (left-handed relief pitching) shouldn't cost a lot to fill, and after that, I'm not sure if there's a fit. I have come around to liking a potential Bud Norris deal, assuming the price is right, as that would give the Indians some much-need rotation depth while hopefully Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer develop into major-league starters. But that's not something that absolutely needs to happen, and usually need is what triggers a July trade.