If you're Dave Dombrowski, the temptation to do something dramatic -- NOW! -- must be great.
The Red Sox are in the midst of massive June swoon -- 5-8 this month, and 8-11 since May 25 -- and the starting rotation is to blame. The organizational depth is virtually non-existent with no remaining options beyond bullpen mop-up man Clay Buchholz redux.
All of this is plays out against a backdrop of a division very much up for grabs.
But there are dangers to making a pre-emptive strike.
First, any pitcher made available weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline should be regarded with more than a little suspicion.
Most general managers of teams expected to be in sell-mode are waiting to strike, hopeful that the closer it gets to Aug. 1, the more desperate pitching-starved teams will be.
Sure, some arms could be pried loose, but they're likely to be highly suspect, like James Shields. After the San Diego Padres owner threw a public tantrum, the Padres shipped Shields to the White Sox for a couple of prospects. The Padres even took back a significant portion of the pitcher's remaining salary.
The result to date? Two starts, covering all of seven innings and 13 earned runs on 17 hits. His WHIP is a breathtaking 3.286.
So, yes, you can trade for starting pitching in June. But don't expect much.
Secondly, the earlier Dombrowski moves, the more expensive the return. If a free agent-to-be is obtained, the club doing the selling is going ask for more for a 3 1/2 month rental than a two-month rental. Instead of getting 10 or so starts from such a pitcher, the acquiring team would get approximately 17 or 18.
Dombrowski has already got a delicate balancing act. Because the American League lacks a dominant uber-team like the Chicago Cubs in the National League, the team which makes the best summer acquisition could be thrust into the role of pennant favorite.
For a contending team like the Red Sox, an impact starter could represent the difference between gaining a wild-card spot and getting to the World Series. But the price will be steep.
Does Dombrowski really want to sacrifice Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers or Anderson Espinoza -- or some combination therein -- for an all-in approach in 2016?
It's highly unlikely the Sox can obtain the impact pitcher they need without a high cost of prospects in return. Got your sights set on, say, Sonny Gray? You'd better be willing to part with two or three of the aforementioned prospects -- at minimum.
The time to make those sort of decisions, however, isn't now. While it's difficult to watch Eduardo Rodriguez struggle and there's great uncertainty surrounding Elias, the Sox can afford to wait some.
The division is full of flawed teams, and neither the Orioles nor the Blue Jays have the combination of top prospects and economic flexibility to be as active and aggressive as the Red Sox.
Rodriguez is more likely than not to figure some things out as he continues to build arm strength. And if Elias doesn't pitch like an ace, well, how many teams have No. 5 starters who do?
Better to wait and make a more informed decision in another five weeks or so. The Red Sox' recent downturn has been made worse by a concurrent hitting slump. When the Sox bats stir again, the club will be capable of winning some games 6-5 and 7-6, instead of, as they've done in the last week, losing games 5-1 and 7-4.
It may not seem it after the last few nights, but the Red Sox are in a position to be patient. Behaving otherwise could mean a steep price -- both now and in the long-term.
Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter @Sean_McAdam.