I mean, there is always option (3) to renegotiate the contract. If those are really the only two options and the owners say they have to cancel the season because it's not economically feasible to play without fans, then of course there is the option to renegotiate. Now, if the players ask for proof of this and the owners refuse to offer it, presumably the owners are in breach and negotiating in bad faith.
Either way,, neither one of us has actually read the contract so who knows. I generally side with the players but it is very likely the contract is at least slightly ambiguous on this. Are the owners exploiting that ambiguity? Most likely.
Hard to image the owners being so heavy handed, to stick it to the players, would not be determent to the health and longevity of the game. It would take a majority of the owners to be in this mindset.
But, thats my unprofessional perception, and I will freely admit, to not being fully abreast of the entire picture involved.
Why is it hard to imagine?
It was completely foreseeable in March that they might have to play without fans and it was completely foreseeable that the season may not be able to be started until July. None of the fundamental assumptions underlying the agreement made in March have changed.
The owners have already benefited from the agreement in various ways mostly related to cost certainty (that they will only have to pay the players their pro-rated salary, service time questions have been answered, they know that they will not have to pay the players anything more if the season isn't played, that they were able to screw over amateurs by shortening the draft, etc.).
The only thing thing that is changed is that the owners have looked into their pocketbooks and stock portfolios and decided that they would like the players to take less money please, and hope that the media would carry their water for them and fans would blame the "greedy" players like they always do.
I have not read the agreement and was relying on what you wrote.
If the owners have bargained for and gotten the right to decide when the season starts, that is a huge chip. Nothing in your post that I relied upon said anything about opening up books or proving losses. You also said that the players agreed to negotiate in good faith if the games had to be played without fans.
All of this means to me that the players are losers if they do not reconsider their position such that the owners limit the season in a way that renders finances moot.
Again, if there is a written agreement I have not seen it but I have seen the AP report of it which is pretty detailed. https://foxbaltimore.com/sports/sports-unlimited/details-of-mlb-players-union-agreement-on-2020-21-seasons
The excerpt below seems to support that it is likely that the owners could cancel the season justifiably with good cause unless they decide to bend over backwards to make some truncated season happen.
I still think the owners have almost all the leverage. And I see nothing that makes me think they'd have to open up the books to justify cancelling the season for health concerns. There also seems to be plenty to suggest that financial concerns over possibly playing without fans was contemplated. But deciding to limit or cancel the season for health and logistical reasons seem easy to meet in my opinion.
There must be no government restrictions on mass gatherings or travel restrictions throughout the U.S. and Canada, provided the commissioner will consider "appropriate substitute neutral sites where economically feasible." The commissioner must determine, after consulting with the union and medical experts, "that it does not pose an unreasonable health and safety risk to players, staff or spectators to stage games in front of fans in each of the 30 clubs' home ballparks." MLB and the union will discuss the economic feasibility of playing games at neutral sites or without fans. The commissioner has the right to suspend or cancel games after the start of the season if government restrictions or travel conditions change."
IMO, Boras is just one of the parts that is wrong with the current MLB.
Yes, he is supposed to fight for his clients and get the most for them.
But, I think there is enough evidence that points him as being self serving for his own agenda and his client advice is not always in their best interest.