Jayson Werth does not want to admit something. He strokes his beard, which has been trimmed from homeless chic to Brooklyn requisite, and considers whether to come out with it. This goes against one of his strictest rules.
"I hate to give him any credit at all," Werth said. "I really do. But … "
Even at 34, Werth is still growing, still evolving, still open-minded enough to recognize that paying Bryce Harper a compliment, especially one this big, is not the worst thing. He will hear about it, certainly, from the 20-year-old Harper, whom he has terrorized with pranks and antics and other such things acerbic veterans use to ground wunderkinds, and from pretty much everyone else in the Washington Nationals clubhouse.