The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, but they would not qualify for the playoffs if the season ended tomorrow. Rather, the Red Sox will enter the second half some nine games back in the American League East and two behind in the wild card hunt. Perhaps predictably, Dave Dombrowski is doing his best to right the course — including, evidently, seeking rotation help instead of waiting for the end of July, per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic:

The Red Sox have since been linked to numerous names, including New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, according to the New York Post. The Red Sox also reportedly had scouts at Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd’s last start, and are almost certainly interested in the other usual suspects — Madison Bumgarner, Tanner Roark, and so on and so forth.

The Red Sox will face some challenges in landing a starter. Foremost, they’re already over the luxury tax number by nearly $37 million, per some estimates. Were the Red Sox to exceed the $40 million mark — as they would with nearly any veteran addition — they would be charged an additional surtax and would again have their draft pick dropped next June.

On top of that, the Red Sox have an underwhelming farm system after years of win-now trades and promotions. Baseball Prospectus ranked them last in the majors entering the season., meanwhile, gives just eight of their prospects a future potential of 50 or better — meaning, essentially, a league-average player.

This isn’t to suggest the Red Sox will come up empty in their search — indeed, making a trade with the Mets for Wheeler would seem plausible, given he’s an impending free agent having a subpar season. Those factors are likely, however, to limit the upside of what they can do.

The Red Sox entered this week ranked 18th in the majors in rotation ERA. Nathan Eovaldi is expected to return from the injured list as their closer