“Kerry Wood has outlasted three managers and countless players, and also figures to outlast Tribune Co.” writes The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan of Wood’s decision to sign a one-deal pact with the Cubs, spurning “some lucrative multi-year offers” from other clubs in the process. So there you go, after pitching a grand total of 119 combined innings the past 3 seasons, Wood can be presented as a survivor.

Kerry Wood called it “a pretty easy decision” to return to the Cubs, and left no doubt he’s psyched about the opportunity to replace Ryan Dempster as the closer in 2008.

“I would think anybody that plays this game wants to be in that position,” Wood said after signing a one-year, $4.2 million deal that includes significant incentives for number of games finished.

“If you’re playing short, you want the ball hit to you and to make the last out of the game. So sure, you say you want to be in that role, and the adrenaline of it every night and the excitement of it.

“It’s not an easy job. Dempster got some harsh criticism last year, and I think he was fourth or fifth (in the Majors) in saves percentage. And he had a rough time out there (from fans) going out and doing that. It’s fun. It’s a rewarding job, and you definitely know when you’re in the game, the game is on the line.

“I feel strong enough to go out and do it, sure,” he said. “Physically I feel like I can do it. I know what it takes to go out and eat 200-plus innings, and I know what kind of toll it takes on your body. With what I’ve been through, I don’t think it’s wise of me to take that chance again right away.”