CBS Sports' Danny Knobler encapsulates where the Indians stand today:
Indians got LH reliever they needed yesterday. Would still be open to rotation upgrade, but don't like price so far. Prepared to stand pat.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) July 31, 2013
If the Indians didn't go get a Javier Lopez because he cost too much in prospects, then it's very doubtful that they'll be getting a starting pitcher even though they're looking for one. Which begs the question: why are the Indians looking for starting pitching? To answer that question, you need to look ahead.
Of the five starters currently in the rotation, two of them will probably be free agents this winter (Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez*) and a third can be a free agent after the 2014 season (Justin Masterson). Now I'd hope that the Indians and Masterson can agree to an extension this winter, but the other two are likely pitching for somebody else in 2014. That leaves two open rotation spots in 2014, and although there are some promising arms in AAA that could fill those spots (Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco) - not to mention Josh Tomlin - I think the Indians would be much more comfortable having those four compete for one spot.
For instance, as things hold today, here's what the 2014 rotation looks like:
Two of Danny Salazar/Carlos Carrasco/Trevor Bauer/Josh Tomlin
Hence the interest in acquiring a pitcher signed through at least 2014. Bud Norris, who is not an ace by any stretch of the imagination, would fit the bill both because he's not making much money (just $3.0M in 2013) and would be under the Indians' control through 2015. However, that has made him attractive to other clubs, and so the asking has gone up and up.
As promised Bud Norris Action picking up big time in last hour. Multiple teams involved Orioles and Braves being two according to source— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 31, 2013
But if the Indians don't add a starter today, you'll be hearing about the need for one this winter, with perhaps Asdrubal Cabrera being dangled on the trade market.
*Jimenez has a mutual option for 2014, which he'll turn down. Because of his decent 2013 and his durability, there's no way he'll get less than a two-year contract on the open market.