The Red Sox need an ace. The Red Sox want an ace. And if Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski gets his way this offseason, Boston will have an ace by Opening Day.

But how exactly is Dombrowski going to acquire a No. 1 starter? Well, the new man in charge isn’t closing the book on anything while formulating a game plan for this winter.

“I think you’re always careful when dealing with players that you’re really not going to tip your hand on what you’re going to exactly do,” Dombrowski said Tuesday on WEEI’s “Hot Stove Show.” “We do want to get somebody that can lead the top of the rotation. You’re open to signing free agents, and you’re also in a position from our perspective where you’re open to trades. Those are different areas that we would explore. Where it eventually would take us, only time will tell.”

Landing a legitimate front-line starter is a tall task, as such pitchers don’t grow on trees. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they’ll have options based on their payroll flexibility and their wealth of highly regarded farmhands. Dombrowski’s biggest challenge will involve identifying the correct target(s) while weighing the cost(s) of acquisition, in terms of money and/or prospects.

“It’s always costly if you’re going to get top-of-the-rotation starters, not only from a trade perspective, but also from a free-agent perspective. Either way, it’s costly,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll have to just determine who we pursue, and I think also, as time goes on, I’ve seen organizations that try to get some players and it doesn’t end up working. Well, you have to go to Plan B, and a lot of times Plan B can get you to a situation where you have a good club.

“Ideally, we’re looking for that type of guy, but only time will tell where it takes us.”

Only time will tell, sure. But the desire for an ace already is evident.

Thumbnail photo via David Manning/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski